My brother has been gone for 4 months
I’ve developed a routine: I wake up in the morning, go and light a candle for my grandparents and for my great-aunt Ruby and place it in my shrine.
I light another for my brother, Dana, which I carry with me to the couch. I wear Dana’s warm and fuzzy jacket, cross my legs and practice meditating – breathing in and out, focusing on the light of the candle, or closing my eyes.
Either way, any way, I want to know how to do this, how to meditate, how to silence the monkey in my mind.
My brother has been gone for 4 months.
I can’t explain what it’s like to see these guys hanging out and having fun together.
It’s happiness at what they have, pain in what I’ve lost:
This bittersweet joy that they are now experiencing what I once did.
As pure and true and whole as it gets.
A brother and sister who will hold each other’s backs. Best friends. The only person in the world who knew all of my secrets, who’d hang out with me and talk apps, pinterest, self-improvement books and in the next breath, call me a wimp and laugh at me (not with; at).
My back-up plan has always involved Dana – “if something bad happens, I’ll go to Dana,” – he was only barely a year older than me, but I turned to him more than I ever turned to my parents.
That’s Dana. Bright light, golden boy.
Micah picked the lemons and the mint, then made lemonade and brought out a couple of cups to his brother and sister to enjoy while they soaked
What a kid!
Micah made this, too – a home-made hummingbird feeder.
I’ll write a post at some point about his school pieces, but in a nutshell, he’s going to school 3 days a week now and at home for bigger projects for 2 days. We’ll see how it goes. We’re discovering that Micah’s an exceptionally gifted person, and an asynchronous developer – which means that he’s developing on-par with his age for some things (like his social skills), and through the roof with others (like his critical thinking, reading and more). We’re trying to figure him out, and in that figuring out, I think we will be testing him in a wide-range of things soon.
He’s a very interesting and unusual cookie.
We’ve been going to Blue Lake – my Mom is working on transforming Dana’s house (and also where my Grandma lived) into a grief and loss retreat.
It’s so painful to be in the spaces where Dana was, sometimes it just about knocks me over.
But those places are also where I most want to be. Not because I like pain; it’s just memories, the physical connection.
I want to hold my brother close for as long as I possibly can, never let him go.
I know it’s moot, but in replaying the last time I hung out with him, I want to go back to that moment and take Dana with me to Oregon, kidnap him if necessary. Keep him with me until the day that he was shot passes.
I want to wake up and have all of this be one really bad dream.
Did you see “The Little Prince” on Netflix?
The rose in the end, right?
I loved that. I think of that all the time now, with Dana.
Because I need to see him in everything.
He is the beauty in the sky now, the bird flexing his wings.
He is the morning mist, the song of the wind, harmony in water.
My heart still physically aches.
I simply can’t think of the reality of the rest of my life without Dana.
I can’t go there.
It hurts too much.
I’m still just walking, step by step.
One foot in front of the other.
Trying as best as I can to move forward in the light.
There’s a part of me that wants this post to be helpful in some way. Point out something that has been useful to me in this grief process.
Say something positive like, ‘these walks really help!’
And it’s true, I suppose, that the walks do help.
Walking is better than sitting inside all day.
But often I’ll be walking and I’ll come upon a place where Dana and I once stood and laughed, or a memory will flit through my head and I swear I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut, I stop, I can’t breathe, I just choke on my tears.
No fucking way I can do this.
So I find myself blocking off my emotions because the pain is just too intense, the reality is more than I can handle.
This is why I instinctively turn to meditation.
Through that, the monkey in my mind can be silenced (with work, and boring work at that), and I can get to a space in which I simply be, without thought, pain. Just be, exist in my consciousness.
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.