Five days from today, February 7, my brother, who was also my friend, one of my confidants, a father figure, my advocate, a truth teller, my friend, my friend, my friend … transitioned from this earthly life to a more glorious one. A few months before he lost his battle with cancer, I sent him a card telling him how wondrous he was. I didn’t send the card because I thought he was going to die. I sent it because he was living.
When the sun greeted the next morning with a kiss, a little more than 12 hours after his death, I flew to be with my family. After hugging everyone who was at the house, I numbly went to his bedroom and started rummaging through his things, looking for the card. I didn’t find it. I went to my sister-in-law and asked, “Do you know where that card is I sent him?”
Though I’d sent other cards, she knew exactly the card I was talking about. He had apparently read it often. We went upstairs to the bedroom, and she went straight to it.
At the funeral service, though it wasn’t on the program, and I hadn’t intended to, I found my legs standing under me then taking me slowly to a podium to the right of the pastor’s pulpit, facing the family and friends who’d gathered to celebrate my brother and his life worth living. I read the words aloud to a group of people, some of whom were strangers to me, the words that were initially intended for the man whose body laid in a casket but whose soul had soared days before.
In a few days, it will have been three years. I still carry the card with me. I don’t read it often, but I always know it’s there. Today, as I thumbed through the notebook I’ve been carrying it in for the past year or so, the card fell open.
Brother, I will love you forever.