When we were children, our family formed a perfectly symmetrical set of siblings. Two girls...two boys. Two with hair the color of summer or wheat...and two gone dark and dusk. Two were left-handed and two were right. Two were older and two were younger. We complimented one another with our similarity and contrast.
I believed that I could fly if I willed it intently enough...that I would only get into heaven if I died with my arms outstretched like a cross...and that things were magical if only I had faith.
When my brother died, my childhood was obliterated. The other dark-haired, left-handed child was gone--the "big" brother, the joker, the tender-hearted untamed constellation burning up my sky. For more than half of my life, I have lived with this shadow sibling--this searing knowledge of what death does to a family. Each day, the sun swings back around and the seasons rise and fall in turn.
When I was little--I didn't realize it was possible for the vacant spaces to sometimes be the most nourishing ones. I didn't know how to weave death and life into one vibrant cloth--then, use it to wrap around myself and take comfort in. When I was a child, I couldn't have guessed that the lost live on when you say their names and tell their stories.
Somehow, this becomes a kind of transcendence. Eternity in the unexpected hollow of my empty palm...
This week's theme at Sunday Scribblings is "When we were wee..."