Today I So Badly...

....wanted to turn right instead of left after I dropped kids off at school. Turning right used to mean an impromptu visit with my brother first thing in the morning when he was fresh and at his best. Some of my best memories.

Having to turn left today means going home and just thinking about him and missing our visits. Sometimes I have to say out loud "my brother is dead." Just to myself as a reminder that he really is gone. It might seem weird but I sometimes have to do it. Like yesterday. I re-read his obituary too online. I just sometimes can't believe he is really gone.

Last night Blake had his first Cub Scout Pack Meeting. My brother's youngest son is in Cub Scouts with Blake. I watched Ethan get a bunch of awards last night and just blinked really fast to hold back tears. I know how proud Jason would have been to watch Ethan last night and support him in the scouting program. I know that was one of the hardest things Jason had to come to terms with about dying....was leaving his family with his children so young. He so badly just wanted to hang on until they had all graduated from high school.

And while talking about my brother, this past weekend, one of my biggest fears happened. I met a new couple that came camping with us. We sat around in our chairs down in the water chatting. Getting to know each other. And then the question came that I have been so dreading. You see whenever you are trying to get to know someone (at least in Napa) the same questions always come up.....what year did you graduate? what high school did you go to? and....do you have any brothers and sisters? It's kind of a small town and usually everyone is connected to someone in some way or another. So we were chatting and the first two questions came and I answered. And then the third question was asked....so innocently....and I paused and couldn't answer. I didn't know what to say. I didn't how to talk about Jason while his death was so fresh. I didn't know how to answer the question. I didn't want to mislead this new friend that would then lead to more questions like 'do they live in Napa?'. Instead, I just froze. Tried to take a deep breath but instead burst out crying. Right there sitting in the river surrounded by friends and this new couple I was trying to get to know better. I felt horrible. I didn't want to make the new friends uncomfortable....but I couldn't talk. I just cried. And I looked around and my friends were crying with me. And then, to ease the confusion that was building on the new friends' faces....I softly said "I'm sorry...my brother just passed away a month ago and you were the first person to ask me the question I was dreading most....but I knew it was going to happen. Please don't feel bad." Then we all sat around and chatted about good people...and why it always seem that it's the good people that are taken from us too early. And I got to know our new friends. We all decided right then and there that not one moment should ever be taken for granted and we resolved to all do better to appreciate each other and the time we have with our loved ones. And I loved our chats the rest of the weekend with them. And loved my old friends even more for crying with me.

Now I need some suggestions....because I still don't know how to answer that question...."Do you have any brothers or sisters?" I know I can answer yes...1 brother and 1 sister, but I don't want to mislead people that I am really trying to get to know and then have them shocked when they find out that my brother passed away so recently. Or continue to ask more questions. Any suggestions would be wonderful. I just seem to be at a loss for words on how to answer.

I had planned on posting camping pics today....but had more pressing things I needed to write about. Please come back tomorrow for some fun camping pics!

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  1. April, first of all ((hugs)), sounds like your feeling better and have stopped hugging the toilet. Secondly regarding your question I would say answer: yes I have a sister Jill who lives in Napa as well and I have a younger brother Jason who passed away last month, last year, 5 years ago, whatever the time frame may be. Jason is your brother whether he is here in the flesh or watching over you from beyond. He lived, you loved him, nothing will ever change that.

  2. Thank you for this post. Honesty is always the best way to go when blogging. Happy camping pics will still be happy for us tomorrow : )

    I think Lisa's answer is perfect. I may just have to use it myself.
    A suppose a shorter version of it would simply be, "I have one living sister and a brother who passed away."
    Thinking of you--- sending hugs.

  3. Hi April, When asked that question I always say "I have 1 sister and 2 living brothers. My oldest brother passed away 2 years ago." It will get easier as time goes on. Right now the wounds from his way to early departure are still open. I can't tell you when it will happen, but it will, it is different for everyone. It took me about 6 months for me to be able to talk about my brothers death and I still have trouble talking about my father's death and that was 4 years ago. I also still cry alot when I think of my father or I see someone who reminds me of him. I only know that it will get easier as time goes on. Hugs to you.

  4. Sending you love and hugs from NC! Was that cheesy? My husbands brother passed away at 15 of leukimia, my husband was 18 at the time. When people ask him that same question, he kindly tells them that he passed away and why. Sometimes when I look in his eyes I can see the love for his brother he still has for him. I have you in my prayers April!!!
    ~Molly P

  5. lisa took the words out of my mouth...exactly how i would say it - hugs xoxo

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  7. As I have said before, thank you for sharing this journey with us ~ I hope you can feel the support you have out here from your blogland friends. XOXO ~

  8. For YEARS I had this issue when people would ask me how many children I have. Taylor is TOTALLY a part of me and I want to acknowledge her, but people get weird with that answer.... I got over it :) Now I say, "I have two living children and one waiting for me in heaven." Not really my problem if it makes others uncomfortable, and there is no way that I want other's discomfort to lessen my daughter's place in my heart :)

    Hugs to you girlie....

  9. I will always have 3 brothers (the oldest one died almost 12 years ago from a BT). It's nice to talk about him and share things about him. I like when people ask about him. It makes me kind of sad when I say, "My brother died of a brain tumor/nearly 12 years ago/when he was 39/leaving 3 young kids..." and people say nothing. I try to keep his memory alive.

  10. I am so happy to hear that your old friends were there to help the new friends experience and understand how special your brother was and how wonderful your relationship WITH him was.

    I would simply say that and add the extra before more questions come, give them the story up front. I have one sister who lives in blah blah blah and a brother. My brother passed away (a month ago) but he gave me a wonderful sister in law and nephew. They'll inevitably tell you that they're sorry for your loss. You can cry then. :) Because you know that your loss right now is his gain.

    These conversations will get much easier. I don't know if that's good or bad, but they will.


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