I lost my brother this past Wednesday. He died at 3:45 in the afternoon. It was his firm desire not to have a funeral or memorial service. He didn't even want an obit.
It's possible he'd object to my publicly sharing my grief. I'll just avoid using his name (though long-time readers of this blog already know it), and hope he won't mind terribly.
Coincidentally, Wednesday, March 1 was Ash Wednesday. When we are liturgically reminded of the transient nature of life: "Remember, O Child of God, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Having a close loved one die is another powerful reminder of this.
I find myself meditating on the things I can never do again - share books & music, for example. I find myself thinking of practical concerns - he was my emergency contact, and the beneficiary of my life insurance policy.
I am keeping a written journal, but it's my intention to share what I've written in this space.
March 3, 4:00 pm
I bought a candle for my brother.
I am his brother
and now he's gone.
The wind carries his ashes away.
He was my brother
and now he's gone.
March 3, 5:30 pm
My brother died on Ash Wednesday, two days ago, at a quarter to four in the
I am made a ghost by his passing -
walking the Shadowlands with him.
One day, my forehead may be marked with his ashes.
From dust we come,
to dust we return.
Note: regarding being marked with my brother's ashes. The ashes used for the Ash Wednesday service come from the palm branches used for Palm Sunday earlier in the year. I was told, by someone I trust, that the branches are burned in a funeral home creamatorium. So, there's no way to be certain that the ashes of the recently deceased are not mixed in with the palm branch ashes. Since my brother is being creamated somewhere in the Texas Foothills, this is no more than a poetic conceit.
March 4, 6:00 am
I've been crying in my sleep; my brother is gone.