1969 Dallas, Texas
Joy and Sorrow
Little sis, I can’t hold on to the thought that it’s already been a year since you left us. Your death is an abstraction that lives in the form of a furtive dove that appears only momentarily by surprise at every thought I have of you, like a magician’s revealing gesture. It’s an illusion, a blur of fluttering wings beating the air madly, escaping this mortal plane, and impossible to grab hold of. Your absence is excruciatingly hard to understand, I just want to let you know. But first, before I’m pulled away again by this riptide, let me tell you once more that I love you, always have, since the day we brought you home from Hope Cottage in Dallas. You were six months old; I was nine years into my life. Our parents, Bob and Yvonne, were giants in their decision to adopt and change everything for the better. They were optimists, plain and simple. On the day you arrived to your new home, my horizons expanded with an instantaneous velocity of exuberance reserved only for astronauts and their rockets. That combustion of joy, brighter than the sun itself, released a new energy. It was the flash point of a little boy becoming a brand new big brother. That moment changed everything and still resonates in me today. I felt it this morning, in fact, forty four years later, that intensity which holds deep and lives within my core.
I failed you on so many levels and that’s what makes all of this so hard. I could have done better, but there were too many miles between us and I was raising a family. I thought our phone calls were enough. Dumb, I know. Now I look back and see that I was wrong. I could have manned-up, been the big brother that fit the bill, but I became weary after so many years of putting out family fires. I was worn down between the manic joy and depths of sorrow that were laid before me. I’m sorry that I did not board a plane to come out, grab you, and get you the help you needed, despite the drama, and the protests.
I’m still putting the puzzle together and it will take an ocean of time. Distance is hard whether it’s measured in miles or mortality. Today I focus on the good that was between us. You’ll never know how happy I am that we had a good laugh together the day before you left, that’s a phone call I'll always cherish. Maybe you do know. It’s funny how something as simple as that can make it all just a little better. I love you.