♪♪ God only knows what I’d be without you – Beach Boys♪♪

 

Those who knew my brother Chris knew how much he loved The Beach Boys and how much he cared for the environment. Today is Earth Day and in two days, it will be fifteen years since my Chris died. As I think back, it feels both like a lifetime ago and just yesterday. It’s funny how time can be like that.

 

“Each person’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint. But what everyone has in common is that no matter how they grieve, they share a need for their grief to be witnessed. That doesn’t mean needing someone to try to lessen it or reframe it for them. The need is for someone to be fully present to the magnitude of their loss without trying to point out the silver lining.” 
― 
David Kessler, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

 

I’ve learned a lot about grief over the years. Yet, there is still much to learn. This time of the year is always hard for my mother. And I imagine, it’s even harder this year. As we face another year without my brother in the midst of this pandemic, she is missing both him and her grandchildren. And I imagine this year is harder for my sister, who has been grieving my father and his wife over the past year as she settled their estate.

IMG_0740
Chris with his niece RoriAnne

For me, the extra time trapped at home has allowed the mind to wander more, stumbling into grief I didn’t dare approach before. And it feels like all of my grief, from losses throughout the years, is blending together like paints mixing to make a new color. And I’m working hard to keep the colors separate so that it doesn’t all become black. I am trying to pick up each loss, face it and find some meaning preserving its color. And then, maybe, just maybe, I can paint a beautiful picture with the memories, full of color and light.

And it feels like all of my grief, from all sorts of losses throughout the years, is blending together like paints mixing to make a new color. And I’m working hard to separate the colors so that it doesn’t all become

♪♪ God only knows what I’d be without you – Beach Boys♪♪

 

Who would I be without having known Chris? I don’t know. He taught me much including about facing suffering with a smile, about looking to the heart of people, about forgiveness, and about loving unconditionally. So, while I have had to learn to live without him, in many ways, he is still with me. In the way he impacted my life and so many others. And for that, I am so very grateful.

 

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