A little over 11 years ago my father passed away suddenly. It was the first time I ever experienced death in an extremely personal capacity and it rocked my world. I had a half-brother who was just a toddler at that time that I mostly saw during the holidays when I was home from college. Needless to say, we never truly bonded and after my dad passed the whole dynamic was very weird and complicated. For years I didn't know how to contact him or how to be part of his life. After a while there was updates and pictures, and suddenly the boy in front of me wasn't the child I remembered, but a young man that I really didn't know, but wanted to. But like I said, it was complicated. Very much so.
Two years ago my sister was able to spend the day with him while I was in Europe over the summer. I wanted to know all about it…what was he like… was his personality like our Dad's…did he know anything about us…was it really awkward or did it seem natural. Of course it was a little awkward because he hardly knew us. A few months ago she asked if I wanted to try and hang out when I was home after my season and I nervously said yes, because I wanted to get the awkward part over with so we could be the family that we should be. But it never happened.
We always think we'll have tomorrow to do something. Next month to make it happen. The following year to see things through. But we aren't promised any of that.
Yesterday I was having lunch with my best friend and out of the blue she asked me about my brother. "Oh, I was supposed to see him a couple months ago but it didn't happen. Maybe soon, I hope, but it's a really complicated situation." A mere 20 minutes later my sister called to tell me our brother passed away from complications from a severe asthma attack.
I don't try to understand the why of death, because sometimes it's just more then my comprehension allows. But I do firmly believe that the grief is ours--those of us who are still here and wanting more of the relationship we feel we didn't get enough of, the memories we thought we could still make, and the time we felt we had to make everything better. CJ was only 14 years old, but his purpose on earth had been fulfilled so he was called home to be with our Dad and with his heavenly father. I know that. But I didn't ever think that I would only have this short time to do everything in my power to make sure I knew him as best I could. I didn't make the most of it because I thought I had tomorrow.
So I'm grieving. Crazy as it may seem, our heart knows who our family is.