…please know how loaded that wish is.
I want to say it all started 35 years ago, but the truth is- for me- it ended 22 years ago. When he came home with red eyes and a jewelry box containing a ring that was far too expensive for a 13 year old, I should have gotten it. But I didn’t. That was my day. I was 13!!!! Except 2 days later he was getting a chemo port put in, and it clicked.
He knew. He knew and no one told me. He knew he wouldn’t see 14. He wouldn’t see my 8th grade graduation- he wouldn’t even make it to the end of 7th grade. He wouldn’t dance with me at my Sweet 16, or take Prom photos. There would be no varsity games, no college tours. And everything after. He knew. He knew 22 years ago on my birthday. My birth would be his end. He knew.
So I was supposed to turn 13 and instead I had to grow up. Again.
He’s not an absentee father. He’s not abusive. He’s not toxic. He didn’t betray me. He’s dead. And the guilt and fear and defeat this day brings is so goddamn draining.
Parents love their children and have a unique connection to them. For me- yes, of course. We loved sports and snuggling. He would hold me forever and ever. We loved pasta with ketchup and listening to country music. I loved his silly voices as he read to me and spending hours at his office drawing on the white board (this was high tech!). But this… this is our only 100% unique thing. He was diagnosed with the cancer that would kill him on my birthday. It’s the horrifying connection I have with his death. It feels like my fault. Sounds crazy, I’ve been told. But I carry it. I carry it the same way I figure I should have been the lost baby- not my brother. But here we are.
His death was solidified on my birthday and he knew it. Unlucky, scornful number 13.
Turns out 35 is going to be just as hard as 34, 33, 32, 31… I don’t know if it gets easier or I get to move on at some point. I don’t know if I will feel better. I don’t know if I will ever not feel beaten. But I’m gonna try.