Today he would have been 36. Three dozen years on this earth, under this sun. Who knows how life would have turned out, what his story would have been.
We, who loved him, still do, I’m sure of it. We measure the time by his death: before he died, the year he died, after he had died. That is the one useful property of death — to stop the time, to drop a marker in the general flow of days, so we would remember.
They say of soldiers that they will never grow old. My brother, too, not a soldier at all, will never grow old.
He liked fresh milk, right from the cow. He loved stories. And life itself. He is the only person known to me who went to the beehives practically naked, and nothing untoward happened. He was incredibly strong. He knew what fun was, and shared it with friends (and sometimes his grumpy old sister). He had an aim in his life, and he was killed on his way to it. Above all, he was kind.
And then he died.
On that day, I lost part of myself. Probably the part that understood hope. From that death, I learned something. That forgiveness comes from love, and love comes from God. I also learned that there was no way one can protect those one loves. All lives are in the hand of God, and only love remains when those lives continue in another dimension.
Love hurts. As Nazareth sang way back when I was but a kid.
Then again, without love, life is rather… bleak. The joys are tasteless. The suffering is meaningless (All suffering is meaningless, but lack of love adds a whole other order of meaningless). The sun is just a ball of hot gases and stuff without love. All the learning is just information, all achievement, selfish.
Love hurts. But it is better that way than to never have known it.