I picked up my phone today. I wanted to call. It hit me. I can’t.
My brother is gone.
Today is his birthday. And I wanted to call to wish him a Happy Birthday….. but I can’t…….
January 13, 2010, my phone rang. It was an Idaho number and I knew it had to be him, my brother. The brother I searched my entire life for. I had had his name for over 20 years and longed to hear his voice and to see him. I knew it was him calling.
I will never forget that phone call. The first time I heard my brothers voice and his laugh. We talked a while that first phone call. We laughed. We cried. We asked questions. It felt so good to finally have heard from him.
My brother. The one I longed to know.
We called each other quite a bit over the next year and connected on Facebook where we could share pictures and catch up on our lives.
And then came the day I would finally meet my brother and the rest of my siblings. I met him and my older sister at a hotel. It was wonderful. That first hug! I will never forget that. Or his laugh. Us girls talked and talked, and he listened and laughed at us and with us.
And then it was time for all 6 of us siblings to finally be together. What a wonderful weekend that was…… a weekend filled with laughter, stories and bonding.
I spent some time alone with my brother that weekend, sitting in his car in a parking lot waiting for our sister to meet our father. We talked about our birth father. My brother heard the emotion in my voice, saw the way I was struggling with seeing our birth father from a distance and he made me get out of the car and meet our birth father. I will NEVER forget that.
After that time in the parking lot the three of us headed back to the cabin to have dinner and hang out with all our siblings. We had a great meal, sat around the fire talking, and had a great time just hanging out. So much laughter.
After that first meeting in 2011, my brother and I talked on the phone and stayed in touch via Facebook. I would call on his birthday. He would call me on my birthday. And we would talk in between. I really enjoyed those conversations. And his laugh. He would tease me…. I so enjoyed having my big brother in my life. It was part of what I had been missing in my life.
We didn’t see each other again until November 2012. My husband and I went home to Washington for Thanksgiving that year. I let my brother know we would be within a few hours of him in the tri-cities in Washington for a night on our way back to the west side of the state and he made the effort to drive a few hours to see us, meeting us for a late lunch. It was the first time he had met my husband. Such a nice visit, short, but nice.
The next few years brought lots of phone calls. This was what I had always wanted. My brother was a part of my life. I wished we had grown up together, that we had had those years of memories to talk about… but we didn’t. All we had was now. Precious time to get to know each other. I am so grateful for the time we did have, the short in person visits and the many phone calls.
I loved my big brother… He was funny, had the biggest heart and loved the outdoors. He could fix just about anything. And he could play the harmonica! He was so talented!
The end of December 2018, my brother came to Arizona, wanting to escape the cold winter in Idaho. We were just one stop on his trip through California, Arizona and Nevada before heading back home to Idaho.
He arrived a day after my youngest son and daughter-in-law had arrived. Finally, one of my siblings was going to get to meet my sons. I was so excited to have my brother here. The first night he hung out with us for a while, had some dinner. We talked and laughed. It made my heart so happy to see my brother with my family. Another day he went fishing with my oldest son and stayed one night here with us instead of out at the lake in his camper, the night before my birthday. It was a wonderful feeling to wake up on my birthday and have my brother here, in my house. We spent the first half of the day just talking. It really was nice to have him here.
And then he left again, heading farther away from us and then eventually back home.
May 29, 2019, I got a message to call his younger sister, the one who had helped my sister and I connect with our long-lost older siblings. She wanted me to call as soon as I could. I knew something was wrong. That phone call….. I won’t ever forget…. She told me our brother was gone.
If only I had known that the night he spent here would be the last time I would see him….. if only I had known….. I wish I had been able to spend more time with my brother while he was here. We thought there would be more time. We planned for him to come back next winter and we would have more time together, we would plan it better. If only……
That is the thing about death, it makes us question everything. And it makes us wish for more time…for one more day…. One more hour…..
Today I wanted to call my brother to wish him a happy birthday. I had 9 years with him. It wasn’t enough time. Yet I am so deeply grateful for the time we did have. I am so grateful my boys got to meet their uncle.
I miss you, Nathan! I will always miss you! I will always love you, my big brother!
Happy Birthday! I hope you had the best party EVER in heaven!