There are moments, usually when I least expect them, that I am blindsided by the fact that my brother is gone. It can be something so small, like tonight, one of my kids pointed out that I am the tallest one in my family.
"You are the youngest kid in your family," she noticed, "how are you taller than your parents and your sisters."
Yes. I am.
I am the tallest one in my family.
It's those small things that hit me with big realities.
One remark like that and my mind is instantly filled with fresh, heartbreaking awareness...
How tall was Adam?
I can't remember how tall my brother was.
He was only 17 and still growing, how tall would he have become?
How can I not remember how tall he was!?
I am losing the details of him.
I miss him.
I want one conversation with him as I am now.
I want to go back and be able to say goodbye.
I didn't want him to go.
I don't want to be the tallest one in my family.
She mentioned my parents, and my sisters. She forgets there was a boy.
I wish she knew to add a brother.
I wish there was a brother.
Watching the news clip yesterday brought back such a flood of memories and emotions. Yesterday, the news remembered that there was a boy, a brother, and they told his story. And today, I just feel sad. I am so proud of this movement of kindness, and if Adam can't be here on earth living out these kindnesses himself, then I am certainly glad that all of us are doing so on his behalf. It's the next best thing to having him be right here. But that's just it, it's not even close to having him right here. And sometimes, little things trigger that very big, sad reality.
I know that it is normal to lose the details of a person, but we are always gaining new details. Sure, you forget how your childhood friend cut her hair in middle school, but that's because you can't stop picturing her as she is now. But, time and grief and loss are tricky that way. Time robs you of the details of your memories and loss robs you of new ones. And what's left is a sort of hazy dream of a person, something you can't quite entirely capture in your mind.
So Day 28 was about noticing and acknowledging small details. The internet guy came to our house today (in a cold, torrential downpour) and he spent a long time going in and out of the house, downstairs to the basement and back upstairs and then back outside, all to put a black, blinking thingy on the shelf.
For #AdamsActs, I forced him to accept a hot cup of coffee, and after he left, I called the company to give a very specific list of everything he did super well. The rep I spoke with said that she was so happy that someone called with positive feedback and would personally call his boss to let him know my specific compliments.
It wasn't anything major, but I think if a small thing can trigger big grief, than perhaps a small thing also has the potential to trigger big good. And I am for good. I need good.
So I said nice things about Mr. Jeff the internet guy, because he matters too. He is someone's son, someone's daddy, someone's childhood friend, someone's boy, someone's brother. And the details of him matter. Noticing the details of a person is a kindness, and a privilege I long to have back. Until I get to see with my own eyes the glorious details of my brother, made completely new in heaven, I will have to settle for the details of Mr. Jeff and all the other earthly brothers and sisters that God puts in my path to notice, and care for, and love.