“Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Today marks three years since that horrible night I got the call that my teenagers found their uncle not breathing. Or in other words dead.
On this anniverary however (unlike others) I’m not sad. I think if anything my mood is one of acceptance.
My brother was the funniest person I knew. Ask anyone who knew him and I’m pretty certain they’d say the same. He was wise and yet naive and he felt things, both happy and sad, very deeply. But mostly, he was just…funny. I know these are common sentiments to share after one dies— to remember the good and not so much any of the bad. But as a (very bossy) big sister I feel almost immune to that way of thinking.
My brother was trusting—too trusting, and in part this killed him. He relied on humor, and friends who weren’t really friends, often instead facing of hard truths. But that was just who he was. And I accept that even if I didn’t always like it.
Which brings me to where I am today…
Acceptance, for what is. Now, I know to hold those I love a little tighter, fight for things a little harder, but mostly, I have a healtier respect of what is important and what isn’t. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Yet we so often forget this.
Three years ago today a part of me died, too. And that part wasn’t just my only sibling. When I think of all the people, situations, and the unnessarary drama that appeared so vital before and after that phone call… I’m almost irritated at myself for not seeing what really mattered. It was a mistake I hope to not ever make again. At least not in that porportion.
I didn’t get to this place right away and there are many days where I don’t stay here. But I’d like to think I’ve taken the best lessons from both his life and his death to live the remainder of mine more intentionally.