His 6th “birth” day

November 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm

You’ve seen me blog about my brother, Steven, before…

    • Just keep swimming (the story of how Steven and his wife died)
    • Songs for my birth (many of the songs I chose for my third birthing playlist reminded me of Steven)
    • Four centimeters (how Steven appeared in a recent dream and served as a metaphorical “midwife” for me)

Well, today is the sixth anniversary of Steven’s “birth” into the next life. In his honor, I wanted to share these thoughts…


I had a dream five years ago. I dreamed that Steven and Catheryn came back to life. Like they had just had a really (really) long near-death experience. You know how logic kind of flies out the window when you’re dreaming? Well, as crazy as it sounded, I had little difficulty accepting it. I was just so utterly excited and happy to see them that the logic didn’t matter. I don’t remember much from the dream, but I will never forget running at Steven, throwing my arms around him, hugging him tighter than I’ve ever hugged him in my life, and breaking (loudly) down in tears. It was so wonderful to see him.

Having big brothers is always a strange mix of joy and pain. This was especially true with Steven. I have childhood memories associated with Steven that make me chuckle to myself, and I have some memories that I ache deeply to remember. Having Steven as a big brother was, well, often tumultuous. We laughed, and we yelled insults. We tossed footballs, and we dodged “dead legs.” We felt anger, and we felt closeness.

Ultimately, however, if there’s one thing I have come to know deeply, it is that Steven loved me. And I loved him. No matter what garbage may have been lurking in our baggage, no matter how often we disagreed, no matter what… we loved each other. And we still do.

Loving Steven taught me a lot about love, in general. You don’t love others because they’re always loveable. You don’t love others because you’re a wonderful person. Love isn’t fluffy stuff. It’s raw and real and tough. Love is choosing to stick with someone no matter what. Love is hoping they’ll stick with you no matter what too, ’cause we can all be idiots at times. Love is acknowledging the whole person and embracing them and working to understand the things you may perceive as negative.

Steven, I think, didn’t even see the negative in me. He was blind to it. Catheryn would tell me how he always spoke so highly of me, thought I was an angel, had such respect for me. He thought I was so much better than I was. Sometimes I wonder if he’s disappointed now to discover how much I fall short of who he thought I was.

I, on the other hand, spent far too much of Steven’s life seeing only the things I perceived as negative. Because of that, I wasted away precious time I could have spent actively loving him. I loved him, but I didn’t show him my love through my actions as well as I should have. I wish I had taken more time to just sit and talk to him. We did a lot more talking in the last several months of his life, and I’m so glad. I wish I had been there for him more in previous years, especially as he struggled after his divorce. I failed in so many ways. But I hope, really hope, he knows how much I love him. And I hope he’ll forgive me for being an idiot so many times, now that he’s more aware of how idiotic I can be.

So, Steven, happy “birthday,” big brother. If there’s one thing I’m thankful for today, Steven, it’s that you were a part of my life (sibling squabbles and all). Thank you for seeing the best in me. Thank you for being an example to me. Thank you for forgiving my lack of support when you needed it most. Thank you for being a light in my life. I can’t wait to throw my arms around you for real.