“Some people don’t believe in heroes. But they haven’t met my brother.” Author unknown.

Today is my brother’s birthday. Sadly, he is not here to celebrate. He was ripped from our lives almost four years ago when a drunk driver smashed head on into his van as he was driving home from work. It has taken a lot to come to grips with his sudden (and needless) passing. I miss him. He was so generous, kind, and funny. He loved really, really bad jokes (the kind that makes me groan out loud). He was born two and a half years after me and he, my sister, and I were constant companions. We fought like crazy at times, competing often, but always we knew we had one another’s backs. The day he was killed was a terrible shock. Days like today that represent a special occasion tend to deliver aftershocks. Grief knows no deadlines. Yet, I can smile as well remembering the hero he truly was to me and to many others. The world has been lessened tremendously by his loss. On his birthday, and on the anniversary of his death especially, I think of all the people who continue to drink and drive and I wonder if it matters to them. That risk they take that has the potential to inflict so much pain. Distracted driving, whether through impairment due to drugs or alcohol, or through texting while driving kills so many people every single day. And so, to honor my brother, this is my small attempt to bring awareness. On that day, that horrible day, so many lives were forever changed. And I beg you to never, ever drink and drive.

11 thoughts on “Aftershocks

  1. I’ve been meaning, for a few days, to comment on this piece. The aftershocks of grief on “important” dates (birthdays and anniversaries, for instance), even years later, are to be expected, but also somewhat surprising. “Still?” I ask my heart when one of these dates comes up. “Why should a little numbered square on a calendar have such an effect?” But it does. It’s not that we’re not thinking of our lost loved ones on other days of the year (if not EVERY day of the year!), but on these special dates, the memories bubble up closer to the surface. I’m always tethered to the memory of my son, but on these special dates, I feel myself pulling on that tether and drawing him in closer. Naturally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true. And I find that for weeks before “the day” I am dreading that particular date – especially the anniversaries of the deaths of loved ones. It’s like I am pulled back into the grief pit once again. Of course, time does heal somewhat and I do not fall all the way down into the deepness (which is unbelievably deep) but I do fall. And it’s weird that some years the trigger is far more pronounced. I am blaming Covid for the sharpness of the pain this time round.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Carol I was so sorry to read about your brother. What a complete tragedy. Your post really does honor his life and helps give his death some meaning.
    Anniversary dates can be, as you said “dreaded for many weeks prior, as they are symbolic triggers for remembering the pain instead of the pleasure. I agree with you that the loss of control we feel with the pandemic heightens all senses of loss.

    Beautiful post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so easy to fall into the “victim” pit. So easy to fall into negative thoughts. Yet, the silver lining around this damned virus is that it forces us to live just one day at a time; to be fully in the present.

      Chris was a really lovely person. I wrote a lot about his death and the circumstances surrounding it in the weeks, months, years following it. I think the worst thing about it was being dragged back into the pain as a criminal trial commenced. I would not wish it on anyone. Chris was a very generous and kind soul. I will continue to honor him and try to bring awareness around impaired driving and its horrific consequences.

      Thank you so much for your kindnesses.


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