If only

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. 

For oh, how you were loved. We fought for you. The little tether that held your heart to mine was battered, but it remained. 

I tried to temper my hope, to keep it so deep inside that I couldn’t even find it. But it doesn’t matter. It lives on. I tried to turn off my feelings for you, to hold you at an arm’s length, but I couldn’t. I could ignore the feelings, pretend they didn’t exist, but they never even weakened. 

I need you to know that I pushed you away because I loved you and I thought it would help. I thought that, if I withheld myself, I could help you. It was probably harder on me than it was on you. My heart jumped at the chance to have you back in my life. I pretended to stay calm and collected, but the truth is that the slightest attention from you brought my hope and my feelings out of hiding. It set off confetti launchers in my heart and the gears in my brain turning, churning out dreams of the future with you in it. 

You haven’t been a very active part of my life for a long time, but nothing else changed. I never loved you less. I always wanted more of you. When I would see you, I always said something to the effect of “don’t be a stranger!” And invited you to do something with me…excuses for you to come over. That little bubble of hope would start rising to the surface once again. 

I can still feel your presence, standing in my kitchen where I made you lunch just a few weeks ago. I wanted to impress you. I wanted to make you happy. It felt like each time I saw you was a commercial for a life I wanted to sell to you–you can have all this and more for the small price of your sobriety! But truly, it didn’t matter. No one wanted that more than you. 

I know you didn’t ever want us to feel pain, but we do. You were the most sensitive person I knew. I often wondered how such a sensitive soul could survive in this mean, cruel world. And now I know. 

I want to find comfort in knowing that your pain has ended. You struggled every day of the last nine years; almost a decade of pain. I want to think about this and be okay. 

I am so far from okay. 

I want to be happy for you, but my pain is too fresh, too new, to all encompassing. 

All I can hope is that you opened your eyes today and the first thing you saw was the face of Jesus. I hope he wrapped his arms around you and dried your tears. I hope he said “oh my precious child, it’s time to rest now” and gathered you into his arms. I hope you felt light and free without the chains of your addiction and your pain. I hope you smiled, the real true smile that none of us have seen for years. I hope you saw Uncle David, Grandma, and Len. And then I hope you heard the sound of paws and were covered in dog slobber from Tank and Koal. And I hope you laughed that amazing laugh. 

Until we meet again, sweet brother of mine. And we will. 

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