Today, in an effort to escape the oppression of blood sugars, grief, and rain, I picked up a Lady's Home Journal. No holiday cheer there. I found an excerpt by Mrs. Edwards, former presidential candidate John Edward's wife, recounting life after the death of their 16 year-old son, Wade. In it, Edwards quotes a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Called "Dirge Without Music," part of it reads:
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
I opened Lady's Home Journal trying to forget, for a moment, the holidays and the memories that for the last two days...last two weeks...last two months...have engulfed me. Of...decorating the Christmas tree with my brother. Of seeing every James Bond movie with him. Of giving each other thinly-veiled clues about what we'd gotten each other for Christmas. Of his inability to keep secrets. Of getting the giggles every Christmas Eve when an elderly woman would sing O Holy Night, straining to reach the high notes with a voice that must have once been beautiful. But in Lady's Home Journal, in that excerpt by Mrs. Edwards, were truth that I cannot escape.
I know God has a plan in taking my brother early. I know He is working. And I can approve--to a point--but I am not resigned. I am not resigned to the fact that each year means one more year without him, means that I must add another number onto the phrase "the last time I saw him was so many years ago." Three is too many--what will it be like when it is 30? I am not resigned to the fact that I cannot say that my brother "passed away." He didn't pass away--he died when he chose to inhale a lethal combination of chemicals, just one more time. I am not resigned to the fact that my parents are broken, that my cousin, a 9-year old red-headed pixie, grieves for his fun-loving cousin so hard. That when we go to Christmas Eve services, there is a space that cannot be filled no matter how closely we scrunch together.
My brother was smart--smarter than me--he was an adorable red-head with a heart that bled for anything hurting or anyone hurt. He brought home injured animals. He bought flowers for friends-who-were-girls because no one had given them flowers before. He had a contagious laugh. He was witty--a fisherman--more Irish than our heritage implies. He was braver than anyone I know, taking a stand when it was hard, and living with depression and addiction and making it through each day with a smile on his face and love on his heart. And he is dead.
I am not resigned.
I am not resigned.