Happy Birthday to You

Author: Elizabeth Rozier

This is the toughest week of my year. Yesterday was Jonathan’s birthday and Thursday is the anniversary of his death. I know people have a lot of beliefs about their dead loved ones, where they are, what they are doing and if they can hear them. I have been to Jon’s grave 3 times in the last 8 years. I think maybe this year I will try to go again although going there brings me no comfort because I know he isn’t there. His body is, but his spirit which was who he really was, is happily with his Savior (don’t worry, it is not my intention to proselytize.) Writing is cathartic for me and really more for myself than anyone.

I think part of me still freaks out a little that my brother is buried in what I consider a tight fitting box several feet under the ground, of course that fear stems from my claustrophobia. I also hate walking between the headstones, it feels disrespectful to walk on someone, even if they aren’t really there. I don’t talk to him because I don’t believe he can’t hear me, but I do talk to myself and I talk to God. I remember in the first few weeks after Jon’s death asking God to send messages to Jon, as if Jon was waiting to hear from us. I understand fully that he is completely preoccupied. God promises us no more “death or mourning or crying or pain” in heaven. All the collective promises of God are that He will be so amazing we won’t miss the awful place earth is. That’s why I had to ask God to courier messages, Jon wouldn’t be standing around in heaven waiting for a word from earth. That doesn’t stop me from talking, telling the air all the things I want to share with my brother.

My English teacher would be horrified at all the sentences in this blog that start with “I.” I realize grief has a selfish streak, so I guess this blog is just evidence of that. I personally believe the 5 stages of grief is a load of hooey. You don’t pass through them and move to the next in a perfect order until you reach the end. It’s a cycle of emotions…and often it feels like a washing machine on spin cycle. At this very moment I am actually sad and angry at the same time. I am beyond putting expectations on my grief. I knew and loved him for 23 years, I will NOT get over him in 9. However, looking back to that awful day 9 years ago, my pain is easily relived, but doesn’t linger. Back then it hurt to breathe, eat, sleep, talk, etc. I don’t think I got sleep for a full 18 months. Fast forward to today and I am in a much better place. Bad weeks turned to bad days which turned to bad moments. I can usually have my moment and move on with my day without a huge cloud overhead. I still miss and love my brother. He will always be my brother and I will always love him.

So today, when I would prefer to sing happy birthday to him with my family in our ever improving and vocally superior harmonies, I am left telling only the cyber world. I can also tell God that I appreciate the 25 years we had him to ourselves. I also thank God that I will see him again one day.

Happy 34th birthday Buddy. My life was better for having known you, you were my big brother and I didn’t get but one of those. You were irreplaceable. I love you.