Memories of Childhood Fun With Beloved Brother
Author: Lauren Griffin
As a surviving sibling, I can never be sure the right way to “celebrate” Siblings Day. If I post a picture alongside my friends on social media, does the reminder that I lost Andy take away from the light-heartedness of the day? If I do not post a photo, am I missing the opportunity to remind people of the incredible person my twin brother was?
It is easy to feel jealous or sad scrolling through Siblings Day posts, when all of our photos and memories are in the past. This year, I am sharing a silly photo of the three of us and tagging our big sister, Lindsay, but more than that, I will look beyond social media to honor my relationship with my siblings.
We lost Andy in Afghanistan in 2016, and a couple of years later we helped my parents clean out their attic as they prepared to move. My sister and I found many treasures, including board games the three of us enjoyed in our basement through many Buffalo winters in our childhood. Unsurprisingly, military-themed games such as Risk, Battleship, and Stratego were among my brother’s favorites. He always wanted one of us to play with him, and almost always won. I suppose winning Stratego was reward for playing Mall Madness or the N*SYNC board game with his sisters.
Today, the games, in their well-loved boxes, sit on a shelf in the living room of the home I share with my husband, Fenner, waiting for a rainy weekend, or a quick game after dinner. Whenever I pull them out, I tell my husband a little bit more about my brother, whom he was never able to meet.
We create new memories together and often share many laughs along the way. I still rarely win, but the opportunity to wrap myself up in happy childhood memories, and talk about Andy, far outweigh winning a round of Battleship. For me, love lives on not only through sharing a picture for Siblings Day, but also through activities that we enjoyed together.
Soon after their brother was killed in action, Katie and Beth decided to live like he would want them to live. To celebrate his memory and to add new memories.
Lauren Griffin is the surviving sister of Maj. Andrew David Byers, U.S. Army and manager of Survivor Experiences for TAPS.