Our neighbors set off fireworks on New Year's Eve at midnight, a booming reminder that life marches relentlessly on however ill prepared we are. I'm not ready for it to be 2017. It's a year that my brother will never see. I want to scream for time to just stand still for a minute so I can catch my breath and get my bearings.
I've been experiencing those waves of grief that everyone talks about. Some days are better than others, and today was a rough one. Something about it being a new year has made the permanence of Brian's death a little more real in my mind. Perhaps it's denial, or maybe it takes awhile for reality to set in, but I keep thinking he's coming back. How can he just be gone? How is it possible that I'll never see or talk to my brother again? Reality is painful. It's hard to come face to face with the truth that we'll never take another family picture with Brian in it. He'll never goof off with his nieces and nephews again. He'll never celebrate another holiday or birthday with us. Forever there will be a missing piece in our family. An empty chair. It's so surreal. And it's so incredibly painful.
I've been trying to articulate why the pain seems deeper these last two days, and someone pointed out that with it being a new year it's the beginning of having to move forward. As much as I might want to I can't stop time. The irritating tick tock of the living room clock is a constant reminder of that. It's true that we do have to move forward. Everyone that knew and loved Brian will forever be changed by his death, but by God's grace we'll keep going. We'll keep getting out of bed everyday and breathing in and out. Eventually we'll come out of the tailspin we're in and we'll get our feet under us again. We will figure out a new rhythm to our lives but that's not something we can expect to happen overnight. There are going to be plenty of bad days ahead but I have hope that there are good days ahead too.