November 8th, 2016 is a date many people will remember for a long time. I will, too, but not for the same reason. For me, it is not merely Election Day, not just the day the United States, I hope, elects its first woman president. No, it is something far more significant.
It's the one-year anniversary of the passing of my brother, Stephen.
A year, 365 days that reminded of the line from the song. "Seasons of Love." from the musical "Rent," which speaks of a year being composed of 525,600 minutes. That's a great deal of time. I've thought about him in many of those minutes.
I remember Stephen at the most unusual of moments. A song lyric plays, a person makes a comment, I see a man with a profile similar to his or wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a memory awakens from a recess of my mind. There's also his voice. I hear it so often. His words of encouragement, in anything I might set my mind to, his endless explanations of things, which were quite irritating and his laugh.
I did so love the sound of his laugh. It always made me smile. I wish I'd made him laugh more.
Over the last few weeks, Stephen has come to me in my dreams. The dream setting doesn’t matter, nor how lucid the dream, I never fail to recognize him from afar, even without my glasses. His shirt is always a dead giveaway. The dreams I love. The waking that always hurts. It's like losing him all over again.
I most especially hear his voice when I am sad or lonely, and it puts me in mind of the song "You Raise Me Up." The opening verse has the words,
When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
Yes, there are many nights where I sit in silence and wait. Stephen comes to me. For a brief moment, sometimes no more than an instant, a heartbeat, he sits with me, and we talk. It's then that a portion of the second verse comes into play.
Yes, I fill with wonder. I truly do catch a brief fleeting glimpse of eternity. My mind stretches across the decades and I see and hear so many snippets of our days together.
Steve coming in the back door of our house in Arlington, that long beard of his, him showing the family his slides from Alaska, the clothes he brought back from Mexico, taking us to dinner in Boston, and then our times on Martha’s Vineyard. Those summers were the most important and most sparkling of all, the times I loved best. Remembering those moments hurt the most. I remember playing Mexican Train dominos at his house and us happily chatting the evening away.
I only wish we'd talk more when we'd had the chance.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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