The cross at the side of the road
A symbol of faith
That marks the place where you breathed your last
And stands as testimony to a life well lived
And as a tribute and memorial
For those who loved you
And love you still
It is a token of remembrance and affection
The wood lovingly worked by our brothers’ hands
Hands that once worked side by side with yours
Building, repairing, constructing,
And often playing
Wreaths wrapped in red ribbons
Symbolizing the family circle and blood once shed
Upon the highway
Oh how we mourn your loss
And wish for time to turn again
To happier times
Alas we must walk this road
Of sorrow and of pain
Until at last we see your face
In the world that never ends
One year ago, but it feels like forever – each day a long battle with seconds and minutes leading up to this one. They have been days of unbelievable agony and days of sweet solace as family and friends reached out to one another to comfort, to support, and to befriend; to bind the deep wounds and to heal.
We have learned that at least three other drivers narrowly escaped a fatal collision that day. One was a young mother with her three children in the car. But my brother was not so fortunate. My brother was ripped from our lives in that violent, senseless, so-called “accident”. I have a lot of trouble with that word, mostly because it was no “accident” when that other driver lifted that bottle to his lips prior to getting behind the wheel, transforming his vehicle into a murder weapon.
Still, what does it all matter? Nothing will bring Chris back to us. He is gone and we are left to pick up the pieces. There is anger – no, there is RAGE – like nothing I have ever felt before. It passes. There is pain like I have never known before. It passes, at least until the next wave.
I am reaching deep inside myself for something positive to say. This morning I was thinking of a book I once read by Henri Nouwen. In it he describes his struggles with grief following the death of his mother. And he leaves words of comfort and wisdom with these thoughts: had his mother not died, she would not have been able to infuse the spirits of all her loved ones with her own spirit of love and of peace. I take comfort from his ideas.
Chris has left us all many gifts. His death brought us all even closer to one another. His generosity, his kindness, his ability to make light of life’s struggles, his wit and his incredible sense of humour live on in all of us. Perhaps in some way we are infused with his spirit. That is my hope and my solace. So today I will celebrate his life and give thanks for all the blessings he continues to bestow.
It’s been a tough few weeks. Moving is never fun but I am so very grateful for the people who stepped up to help. Family and friends are definitely the super glue that holds me together. Through good times and bad times they’ve been there for me to lean on, or to help celebrate life’s joys. I feel like I have been walking along a razor’s edge between these seemingly opposite emotions – one minute happy the next grief-stricken once again. Because you see, it was my younger brother, Chris, who so often stepped up to help us, whether it was moving our belongings or something as simple as a ride to the airport, he was always there for us – it’s been four months now since his death, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. Even through the exhaustion of moving, or perhaps especially because of that fatigue, he sprang to mind frequently. I remember when he helped us move and also made sure there was a hot supper waiting when the last load had finally been dropped at our new place. I not only appreciated his strength, I was inspired once again by his thoughtfulness. He was an amazing brother and friend. I miss him.
So, for what it’s worth – I am back! Thank you for reading my blog and I will spare you further exposure to my grief. For those of you who know my family you know Chris was killed when an impaired driver crashed into my brother’s vehicle. So, once again, I implore all of you – never get into a vehicle with an impaired driver; and be careful on the highways and byways, for I would not wish this pain on anyone. Stay safe my friends.
Mourning in the morning
And in the evening too
No matter where I look I see you
You live in my mind and heart
And though we are apart
You will live on
They’re also very sweet
I will tuck you close
Inside my heart
Until at last we meet
It is times like this that make me so very grateful to come from such a large family. There is always someone to talk to, someone to lean on. I think our parents would be proud of the way we all support one another. Their lessons have been well learned. We will all miss our brother, Chris, but all his best traits will live on in us, in his nephews and nieces, and most especially in his children. Please know that even though I am miles and miles away from most of you physically, I will hold you all close in my heart and in my thoughts.