We know we won’t grow old with our parents. We know they will die before us. We know this and accept it. It is a natural part of life. For the most part, we don’t give it much conscious thought. As they get older, we understand our time with them is coming to a close and priorities might start to change so that we spend more time with them. There is a natural progression.
I didn’t have that progression with Derek. One moment he was there. The next he was gone.
We expect to grow old with our siblings. We expect to go to family gatherings together, for our children to be the friends that cousins are supposed to be. The thought that you might have to one day bury your sibling isn’t really a reality. I mean, you know that one day, when you’re old and shit, that it’ll happen. But then it’s more you’ll be the brother at a funeral done by his kids, attended by his grandkids, friends, family, etc. You never think that you’ll have to plan a funeral for your brother in his 20’s.
We expected to grow old together. It was a given, right? It’s supposed to be something you can count on. My brothers. Always there to have each others back. No matter where, no matter when. Brother are there for each other. Even as we grow up, grow apart. Lives go in different directions, it doesn’t matter. We are brothers, a bond that transcends all else.
Derek and I talked regularly, by text, or Facebook, and occasionally by phone. We’d see each other when I was in town, and he even drove all the way out here to visit one weekend.
Growing up, as kids, you’re always there. Always together. A part of every aspect of life. But you grow older, and that relationship changes. As we each went through high school, we drifted apart, but it was neat how after high school we drifted back together. Our relationships with each other grew a lot after high school. When we were finally all growed up. But then I moved away and we grew apart. Not a ton, but time and space will do that to any relationship. Like I said, siblings always expect to grow old together, so it wasn’t a huge priority to spend as much time as possible together whenever we were in the same city. We’d always see each other, but not as much as if it were a higher priority.
But now that time is gone. There will be no more seeing each other. There won’t be any big family gatherings with a bundle of cousins. Mom and Dad won’t have family gatherings with all of us and our kids. We were supposed to be one big happy family. Now we aren’t. We can’t. Not the same way. We’ll never be happy the same way. There’ll always be that hole. It can’t be filled. It will always be there. It will always hurt. It will always suck. I hope it doesn’t always make me mad, but it might do that too.
Derek will always be my little brother. It’s hard when people ask me how many of us there are/were (meaning siblings). I never know how to answer. There are/were three of us. I am the oldest, Trevor is/was in the middle, and Derek is the youngest. He will always be the youngest. I will always be the oldest. But what about Trevor? He is no longer in the middle. He is now the youngest. Which is fucked up. It makes me mad.
I miss my brothers. I’m sad that we didn’t get to spend more time together. I’m sad that we grew apart, even though that’s totally natural. I’m sad that this is so fucked up and I don’t have my little brother any more. I’m sad that I only have one brother now. I’m sad that I don’t know how to answer people. I’m sad that I keep answering in the present tense even though it really is the past tense.
Derek is now in my past tense. That’s fucked up.
Seriously. Fucked up.