Author: Elizabeth Rozier
Yesterday, which seemed to be the first real HOT day of summer here in Houston (end of May), my parents and I stopped for a snow cone at a local haunt. It's been a favorite of ours for years, as close to a New Orleans snowball as you will get in Texas. As I stood in line, glistening in the summer heat as all real southern ladies do, my thoughts turned towards summers past with my brother and the many snow cones consumed in childhood. There are certain things that will always spark a memory of my brother, snow cones are one of those things. His first job was at a snow cone stand, owned by a man with a scarily mob-like-New Jersey accent, a bad toupee and too much gold jewelry…yes, even in Texas. Jon was 15 and what seemed like every day that summer we would ride our bikes to that snow cone stand and get something new. He would mix flavors for new concoctions every time. I smiled as I ordered my Fuzzy Navel snow cone with extra syrup yesterday and thought of him. Summer and snow cones…what a happy childhood memory. There is so much in summer that reminds me of my brother. I think it's because school is out and your siblings become your forced companions. So in honor of summer, the best time of childhood, here's a few memories of Jonathan.
There are just many places I go or even things I see that spark a memory, now happy ones. I can laugh and smile about them as I expect that I would if he were here to share that memory with me, probably correcting my version of the story the entire time…perspective is everything after all. Every time I drive past the dirt parking lot that used to be Six Flags Astroworld I think of the summer fun we had with season passes several summers of our teenage years and how he rode Greased Lighting 15 times in a row without getting sick once. Then when I visit the town we were born in and I see that steep alley that we tobogganed down on skateboards I cringe at the gradual curve that we raced down which could have hidden an oncoming car. And, I am always passing through our friend's old neighborhood where you snuck outside to flip the electrical breaker on our New Year's Eve party on Y2K. We weren't fooled one second…ok, maybe just one.
Or, when I visit the Galleria in Houston I see the ice skating rink and instantly my front tooth begins to hurt. I have still only ice-skated once since seeing Jon spread eagle and missing a tooth upon his first attempt. We had to toe-pick it out of the ice. My fear of ice skating is now accompanied by a psychosomatic pain in my front two teeth…and a smile when I remember the expression on his face after asked me if his teeth were okay as he broadly grinned to give ample room for adequate observation, looking every bit as goofy as Alfred E. Neuman.
I love that the good memories are resurfacing after years of the pain of grief that clouded them. I am blessed to mentor other siblings with TAPS and I always tell them to journal every memory of their sibling…those memories tend to fade out under the influence of grief. I am not sure why that is, but someone should have warned me of that. I am glad to know some things still float to the top now and then. So, if you are a surviving loved one, that's my advice to you, journal your memories, good and bad and hopefully, you will feel free to share a few of yours in the comments below. Reminiscing can be healing.