Saturday, June 9, 2012

Two Years


Brett, our almost-brother, and Brent

Can you just take a look at that grin? Does it take your breath away like it does mine? When I saw this picture earlier this week after Brett posted it to my Facebook wall, I was shocked to immediately burst into tears. It was the grin that stabbed me in the heart, that infectious grin that I haven't seen for two years. I sat at my kitchen table with saltwater pouring down my face. Sophie saw what was on the screen and put her arm around me. I caught my breath, dried the tears and closed the screen.

We miss him. We miss him dreadfully. It's terrible that he's missed two of his birthdays, two Christmases, two new babies (a niece and a nephew that he would have adored,) not to mention so much laughing, so many conversations, games of Big Boggle, boy movies with all the brothers, brothers-in-law and Josh, family dinners...oh, too too many things.

I've been thinking about the Jack Gilbert poem I posted a few weeks ago, especially these lines:
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
So today I decided to delight, to accept my gladness and grab the joy there is all around me, to remember my little brother by living fully and happily. I ran and hiked on another gorgeous trail near our home, talking to him about how much we miss him, how much he would enjoy the kids right now. I bought wildflower seeds to scatter. We nixed the yard work and cleaning. David and I went to breakfast with friends, then took Josh to The Avengers. I took Sophie and a friend to City Creek and to my favorite gelato place. I ate blackberry cobbler. I took pictures of the sunset. We watched a family DVD with the kids. I read to Ben and snuggled Kate. And through it all, I remembered him.
 
One of the hardest lessons I've learned through the last two years is that there is no safe and easy path through life. The world can indeed be a ruthless furnace, but every day we accept that truth and love our time here anyway is a day to celebrate. And so today I celebrated Brent, his life, and the fact that I loved him so much that his loss has created this hole. Holes left in our hearts are the proof of loving recklessly, with abandon, despite the risk of pain. The hole of his life is huge in our family's collective hearts because we loved him hugely. I would rather love hugely and risk huge pain than live a quiet, safer, subdued life with a quiet, safer, subdued heart. I may not have felt that way earlier in this journey, but I now make this conscious choice every day: to love, to cherish, to risk.
 
Rest well, my sweet little brother. You are missed. You are loved.

6 comments:

Megan said...

Beautiful and true, Kerri. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.

tonandboys said...

How can you make me cry and inspire me all at once? Look at that Beautiful Smile! I have been protecting my heart far too much lately. How quickly the walls go up when we get hurt. Thank you for reminding me why it is worth the risk. Wish I could give you a Hug this week.

Malisa said...

That grin reminds me so much of Josh.

As we're preparing to leave on this trip (and working on our will tonight), I'm left thinking about what my children and family really mean to me. I've had to acknowlege the possibility of losing them or them losing us. SO HARD! It scares me....but your words of wisdom are comforting. Yes, much love can mean much loss, but this is all as it should be.

Eliza Jane Stewart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bonnie Atkinson said...

What wrenchingly beautiful words! Love the poem about delight. Our lives are such a tension to embrace delight, thumbing our noses at our adversary! God bless us in our bittersweet journeys.

Lisa said...

Kerri,
Your words are gripping and just what I needed to find this morning! I feel exactly the same way! Overwhelming loss can just be that...so overwhelming. But I approve and applaud your ability to love and celebrate his life every day in yours. Sending your love and continued courage.