Ohh you just reminded me of him

I have two nieces. They're my little brother's babies and they won't even know him. He died 5 years ago of  what might possibly have been SADS, which means he basically died of nothing at 38. This guy was a great dad. He loved his girls so much and it's a huge, huge loss for them to not have him in their lives. I do what I can to make sure they remain in our lives but it's not easy. They live with their mom in another part of the country and we do our best to visit them and bring them to my home in the summer. When I'm with them I don't talk about my brother all the time, only when they do or if he comes up in regular conversation as he often does for me. I talked quite a bit about him before he died and I am not about to stop because he's gone.

My son was very fond of my brother too although in the last years of my brother's life he wasn't as available to my boy because he had a family of his own. My son has letters from my brother, pictures of the two of them together, a pair of his boots and wears one of my brother's leather jackets but even with all the stuff our memory of people fades as time goes on, especially if we're young when we lose them.

For a substantial period of time, before my brother had a family of his own, he lived with my son and me. I was still married to my son's dad at the time and although at times my brother's stay was a bone of contention for my ex husband, for my son and myself it was great! I'll always remember the three of us dancing in my tiny house to Lithium by Nirvana. My brother had faults as we all do, but he was fun and loving and positive and I'm thankful my boy got to have him in his life, and even though the memory is fading my brother will always be in my son. I see proof of it from time to time, these little glimpses of my brother in my son, little mannerisms or a certain look or way of doing something. It's just there.

When we're influenced by someone, good or bad, I think it stays in us forever, no matter who they are.

Sometimes we get lucky, and the influence is a great one, one that helps us remember and allows us for a split second to be with the person we've lost, to once again have the feeling of them.

I'm a lucky person to have had siblings who've been such a positive influence on my son.


  1. I agree. Simone has the pictures and letters of her godfather who died in 2006 and by spells she will just "do Dayne" and you will see him in her. They were as close as any two people can be, and it's a stupid awful thing when a person just keels over at 56. But I am so grateful for that influence that lasted 7 years.

    Now here's a weird thing: sometimes I'll catch myself being my sister who also died in '06 (it was a bad year). It's like I'm standing outside myself seeing her gesturing or saying something and I'm thinking, "Oh, that's so typical of her."

    Only it's me.

    It would be much worse to stop noticing.

  2. Yeah yeah, that's exactly what it's like, "do" the person.

    I don't see myself "being" my brother but my sister-in-law will comment on how she sometimes sees him in me, that it freaks her out that even though "you know, you're not blood related but you're so alike in some ways".

    Now as long as I can keep a grip on not being my mom ; )

  3. Uh-huh. Being "your mother" seems to be the ultimate thing no girl wants to be, adopted or otherwise. I know Simone will feel the same way. It's the law of womanhood.

  4. Yes, I agree that when we are influenced by someone, a part of them stays with us. I'm sorry your brother died so young. It sounds like you have some good memories! And it's funny - even though my mother and I are very close, I don't like being told I am just like her! Why is that? I never really thought about it - maybe it's just human nature to want to be your own person, apart from your parents??? Don't know.

  5. It seems mostly it's a mom thing. For me to be told I was like my dad would be ok. Although, I could guess my son wouldn't mind being told he is like me. Maybe it's a daughter/mother thing. I'm going to conduct an informal survey of women I know in real life and report back lol

  6. Oh no, I've become my mother: How to outwit the mom gene and have the life you want

  7. Haha! Have you read this book?


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