A Letter to my Dead Little Brother

 

ChrislittleDear Chrissy,

Yes, I know you don’t remember this, but that is what you used to call yourself when you were three or so. People would ask you what your name was, and you would smile and proudly shout, “CHRISSY PETTY!!” You were so cute. I didn’t see you often as our father had divorced both of our mothers by this time. Our dad was never one to spend oodles of time with his four kids. So, we hung out with our dad and our two brothers a few times before you and your brother moved to Texas with your mom.

Do you remember that weird church our father took us to? I don’t know why this is such a vivid memory for me. Maybe it is because church has always made me uncomfortable. You weren’t a big church fan either. Anyway, I was about eleven and you were three or four. It was one of those churches that wasn’t in a church really, but some kind of shopping plaza. I don’t remember the service. I just remember carrying you around, and pinching your chubby little cheeks. I loved you to pieces and I wished we had a “normal” family where we all lived with the same mother and father, but our father ruined all of that for us. He just couldn’t be the father and husband type of guy.

I visited your mom and my dad a few times at the house in Miami. One time, I remember he got really mad about something and banged his hand on the counter so hard that the loose change that was there flipped up in the air. I don’t know why I remember that. It just stuck with me. That might have been before you were born. I also remember making a house out of a refrigerator box with your older brother.

Our father lived in a couple of different places when he separated from your mom. I remember the townhouse the best. I remember thinking it was so cool that he had stairs because I had always lived in small apartments. This is the place where we played ET on the Nintendo. I never really got into video games, but you loved them your whole life. You played them until the very end. My son just told me that he chatted with you just a couple of days before you died about the pros and cons (mostly cons) of buying the Walking Dead video game. He liked you and thought you were cool. He really loved that picture you drew of him. Thank you for always treating him like a nephew even though you never met him. It’s amazing how you can get to know people online.

ChriscatThe last time I saw you in person was at our father’s funeral. Like you, he died too young. Though, at forty-nine he lived longer than your brief thirty-five years. Our genetics do not react kindly to obesity. You and your brother, and I say your brother so that I don’t use names here in this public forum; anyway, you guys were running around the funeral home. You were both still so young. I think you were eight and maybe your brother was ten or eleven by this time. You almost knocked over the casket at one point. I didn’t know whether to laugh or scowl. You see; I was fifteen then. So, I was super cool and so above running around. I was more worried about boys than mourning the father I barely knew. I was also busy being rude to people who said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” I would tell them, “Why? Did you kill him?” or “I barely knew the man.” Both of those statements were true, but I probably should have held them in. People looked so uncomfortable when I said things like that. I didn’t give a shit.

I didn’t hear from you for eighteen years after that. Then, one day in 2005, my phone rang. You had found me on the Internet. This shocked me because I had tried “Googling” both of my Texas brothers. Do you have any idea how common your names are? I was so glad you found me. I instantly bought you a plane ticket to come to my wedding. You ended up having kidney stones and not being able to make it. I always wondered if you really had kidney stones or if I had just pressured you to fly hundreds of miles to come to my wedding and you didn’t know how to say no. I’m sorry I was too pushy if that was the case.

I’m also sorry for not being a phone person. There were a couple of times that I did not return your calls. I hate the phone, but I wish I had tried more to be there for you.

Thank you for talking me into getting a MySpace page and a FaceBook page all those years ago. You told me it would help us stay in touch, and it did. It also helped me keep in touch with a lot of other people. So, thank you for pushing me into the twenty-first century.

When I got the voicemail from our oldest brother telling me that you had died, I was instantly stunned. I’ve been stunned ever since. It’s like all of this isn’t real. Just like with our father, I had counted on tomorrow. I was thinking there would be a time when I would finally get to Texas to visit you and the family. I thought I had time. We never really have all the time we need do we?

Wherever you are, whether it is in heaven as the Christians believe, or in another life as the Buddhists believe, or just nowhere, I am glad that you are no longer in pain. You no longer feel any anxiety, or illness. Rest in Peace, baby brother.

Love,

Your big sister

25 thoughts on “A Letter to my Dead Little Brother

    1. He was one of a kind. I feel like I lost my twin. We were the creative, liberal, weirdo siblings. Now, it’s just me and the “normal” siblings. 🙂

  1. Lisa,that was beautiful I was touched to tears and that doesn’t happen much with me…thank you I’ve had loss in my life also and this helps

  2. I still remember the day my mom called and said my sister had died. I had reunited with her about a year before that. So glad that I did. Sorry for your loss and it was a very moving article.

    1. Hi Jackie,

      I remember when my mom told me about your mom. She was too young, too. I’m glad you had reunited with her, too.

      Hugs,
      Lisa

  3. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your brother Lisa.. SO sad, he was so young and had so many more years of life to live. It’s very devastating when you know certain genetics play a role in your future and family members ignore this. I’m experiencing the same situation with my oldest sister; who just turned 40 is on an oxygen tank and insists on smoking. I’ve already accepted her demise. It’s just sad, so young so much more memories that should have been had. My condolences to you and yours during this time Lisa.. Take Care -Iva

    1. Thanks, Iva. I hope your sister can quit smoking. My mother-in-law smoked until the very end. She was on oxygen for the last 10 years of her life. It’s a strong addiction.
      Hugs,
      Lisa

  4. I so had to read this. You have such a loving heart behind all that semi cynical sarcasm… I love it that you are so strong… you are strong Lisa. I know because I’ve used a lot of the same ways to illuminate the weirdness and irony of life. The time thing… I don’t like it a bit… it takes and never gives… we have to try and always remember that… it is hard. We get swept along like leaves in a stream in the autumn. You wrote a very moving tribute to your brother… and I thank him for dragging you into the 21st century… I hate phones too… wasn’t thrilled with voice classes either… you are one of my coolest friends even if we only see each other online anymore… its kind of a gift to hermits like us… LOL… take care and again… my condolenses!

  5. I so had to read this. You have such a loving heart behind all that semi cynical sarcasm… I love it that you are so strong… you are strong Lisa. I know because I’ve used a lot of the same ways to illuminate the weirdness and irony of life. The time thing… I don’t like it a bit… it takes and never gives… we have to try and always remember that… it is hard. We get swept along like leaves in a stream in the autumn. You wrote a very moving tribute to your brother… and I thank him for dragging you into the 21st century… I hate phones too… wasn’t thrilled with voice classes either… you are one of my coolest friends even if we only see each other online anymore… its kind of a gift to hermits like us… LOL… take care and again… my condolences!

    1. Diana,

      That happens to me when I comment on other WordPress sites. I leave two comments all the time.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. DO NOT tell anyone that I’m a softie. It will ruin my image.

      Hugs to you,

      Lisa

  6. this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Often when we hurt, it does help to write it out and share. You can see the love you had for your brother and your attitude as you grew into the incredible person you are.

    1. I have ALWAYS written out my emotions. I’m not a dramatic or emotional person. I hold things in. Writing has always been a release. Thanks for reading.

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