May 2nd would have been Shaun’s 33rd birthday. My heart always feels heavy when I hear the word, May. Anyone who knew Shaun, knew he loved his birthday. Another reason we were a great pair. We loved our own birthdays. It’s like your own little personal holiday. Started the day with breakfast in bed – or restaurant of his choice (depending on his mood). Then we would go and get his birthday present. Followed up with a family dinner out – and normally friends coming over that evening. He loved his birthday. So, every year – on his birthday – my heart feels heavy. Sad for him. Sad for the loss of him. Sad for everyone that knew him. Sad for me. And it’s a weird feeling – being sad. There is a level of guilt that comes with that sadness once you have continued with your life. And thankfully – my husband is a rockstar. He gets it. He knows that just because I am sad for Shaun- doesn’t mean I love him less. It’s a situation that I never thought I would be in. And I am still stumbling through it.
This was the worst year so far. On Thursday, May 1st, my sister-in-law and I were at a Charity event with some friends. The salads had just been served when I noticed her take a phone call and walk out. She comes back in literally about 4 seconds later – and says, “I need you – come on.” So I got up and left. We walk away and go to the restroom area – and she turns with her eyes welled up with tears and tells me, “David is dead.” And something bizarre happened to me. My insides felt like they were turning to stone. David, is my brother-in-law. My husband’s brother. I had never met him. But, there was an unfortunate accident where he was living, and it was completely unexpected. We know we are going to have to tell our husbands, but we don’t know how. Finally we call – and get everyone to the house. And by this time – my insides were completely solid.
My husband’s youngest brother – he is a fixer. And so he was on it. My husband – was in total shock. And all I knew to do was hug him – and let him cry. And then try to figure out the logistics. Make sense of it all. Research it all. And then do whatever needed to be done. I knew my job was to be the one who when someone says, “Go get a chicken and taco sauce, ” – I am gonna be the girl who gets it don’t ask why. I never realized how much those people helped me until after the fact. But inside – I was stone.
Until Friday. Shauns’ birthday. At about 10 o’clock. I went to work that day. Due to catastropic events in the panhandle – our team at work was short – so I needed to go in and finish some stuff. Especially, not knowing what the next week was going to hold. I walk out into the tow yard, and I am staring at a car. And I hear one of the people walk up behind me – but I refuse to look at them. He says, “You ok?” – and my insides began to shake and melt. And tears started pouring. And I began to ugly cry. Shaking all over ugly cry. And he looked shocked – but shut up and hugged me. And let me cry. And never questioned why. I thought, “Why am I crying like an idiot? It wasn’t my brother – and I didn’t know him. Don’t be the dramatic person, who is all overwrought. Buck up girl, and handle it.” So I did. But I was still confused as to my hugely emotional outbreak.
So for the past 2 days, I have also tried to figure that out. Because after my 4 minute breakdown – I was solid again. So I started writing down the random thoughts in my head – and here is what I came up with. My heart was broken. Broken for my husband. My brother in law’s. My sisters in law. My nieces and nephews. I might not have known him personally – but my heart was broken for all the people I do love. That I do know. I know, all to well, the pain that they are going through and that they will go through. I know how much their world is rocked. I know their lives have a new dividing point – Before David died and After David died.
So, I wanted to buy them a book. A sweet friend of mine gave me the book, “Tear Soup”, when Shaun died. It’s a children’s book – but it was exactly what I needed. But, I thought, maybe there is something more appropriate for grown men losing a sibling. There is not. There are more books about losing a pet than there are about a sibling. And then I cried again. Two reasons this time. And I finally figured out why.
1. I cannot imagine losing my sister. I have had her my whole life. And even thought we live super far away – there is a level of comfort of knowing she is there.
2. This – the here and now – is their new normal. And it sucks. And it ‘s painful. And it will get better – but it will never go away.
And here is something to think about – there is nothing out there for siblings. And that shocks me. Your siblings are the people that are supposed to be with you through everything. All the hardtimes. Your parents are not supposed to outlive your siblings. It doesn’t seem natural. You prep yourself for the fact that your parents and grandparents will die one day. Not your brother or sister. Your siblings have been there for all you successes and failures. They have seen you at your best and your worst. You tell your deepest secrets to you them – and even if you don’t tell – they know it anyway.
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in what dies inside while still alive. Never Surrender.” – Tupac. And I believe he nailed it. Everytime you lose someone – and piece of you dies inside. That is the biggest loss of all.
And the loss of your sibling will remain with you the rest of their lives – just like they were supposed to.