This past week marked the tenth anniversary of the passing of my brother Josh. Over the last ten years I’ve come to understand a few things a little better.
Many people cope in many different ways with death; my way seems to have been in the privacy of my own thoughts. I have friends, however, that cope with death by keeping busy and not letting their minds think about something that can be so deeply upsetting. When you come to think about it, this is the complete opposite of me. A good friend of mine lost her mother not that long ago, but because her mother had decided to look into burial insurance for seniors, all the costs associated with the funeral had already been taken care of. As you can imagine, this took a lot of strain off her when it came to the planning of the service, guaranteeing full control over what she wanted. This allowed her to take her mind off the fact that her mother was no longer with us. As you already know, I took a completely different route. In dealing with death, I had to face the fact that my brother was never coming back. This took some time, but, in accepting this fact, I was able to move on in my life; not without my brother, but with him as close to my heart as ever, in my everyday thoughts, and in the great memories that we shared together.
Every day I’m more and more grateful for the time we had together. We had time to become close friends and closer brothers. I’m grateful we had the chance to play so much music together and travel because of it. I’m grateful he let me drive his car before I had my license (sorry Mom). I’m grateful we talked about our futures and sometimes even about getting married; he would have loved my Lisa. Although, I’m pretty sure he would be thankful that he doesn’t hear about certain things regarding my marriage. You know, the intimate things. We never spoke much about sex, if at all, and definitely not about butt plugs and when to remove it. To this day, I wonder what he would make of that, but I’m just so thankful that we got to have these conversations together. I’m grateful he tried sea urchin sushi so I didn’t have to (this was the only time I ever saw him spit something out). I’m grateful he took me with him when a big brother didn’t really have to; I’ll never forget that.
He was a man that unashamedly loved God. It came through in his life. It most especially came through in his music. He loved his family and his friends with an unquestionable loyalty. He had amazing character and courage. Going through the darkest and most difficult times, he never complained. He felt the effects of his cancer for more than a month before he even mentioned them to anyone.
If only I knew he was in pain, I would’ve done everything in my power to do something about it. No one likes seeing someone they love so much in pain and even if I couldn’t take it all away, you can bet that I would’ve tried my hardest to provide him with any sort of relief I could. A friend of ours from England told us about people using CBD for pain relief and showed us some of the best CBD brand UK based we could try. Unfortunately we couldn’t get over there in time and so we never had the chance to try this, but maybe it would have helped. There are other natural remedies for helping to cope with the pain. So many people had told me about how they decided to go down the medical cannabis route and order edibles for their relatives who were suffering as a result of their cancer and how it had provided them with some positive results. If only… But that was the type of person my brother was, he didn’t want to bother people with his problems – that was the only time I wish he had.
Life was never complicated for him. He took everything in stride. We sat together in in the hospital room when the doctors told him he had cancer. When I didn’t know what to think, I looked over at him and he looked as cool as ever, and then I was all right. The news didn’t change a thing about the way he lived his life. It was as if he knew the outcome, and he had been preparing for it his whole life.
As I sit here in Malawi writing, in our little green apartment, I’m a little choked up, so I’ll just finish. At some point in our lives we will all lose someone we love. Death is tragic any way you look at it. No matter how our loved ones go, the reality that they were loved becomes the very reason they leave heartbreak behind. Broken hearts can be mended but never fully healed, and that I don’t mind. It is another reminder that the ones we love will always be with us. As I continue my life, I’m not afraid to say my brother is with me, he’s coming with me, and I’m never letting him go.