Funny how the “stuff” of life keeps intersecting with memories from our pasts.  April is my brother’s birthday month and that’s when I ran across a 1986 first year law school assignment of mine…yep, law school where the professor instructed us to forget legalese, briefs and endless legal research and to instead, to write from our hearts….pretty unique for law school but most refreshing to be treated as a real human with real feelings instead of a show-n0-emotion-act-lawyer-in-training.  And, obviously, I needed to write about my brother’s death because it was the first thing that popped in my head and would not leave until I put the pen to paper.

Lee died at the tender age of 5—my parents’  only son, my best buddy and a great pal.  I still think of him every day …it used to be I would wonder what he would be doing now, but in recent years, I think of him in a more spiritual, guardian angel way.  Whether we believe in guardian angels or not, I do know that my awesome brother is still very much  a part of my heart and life, I miss him, but I also celebrate the few short 5 years we had him on earth and I celebrate that he is still very much a part of our family.

It wasn’t until I, too, became a parent that I fully realized the depths of a parent’s loss when a child dies….perhaps the only thing worse is when total families are alive and well, but disconnected, out of touch or otherwise just “too busy” in our 90 mph worlds to just be together, to share, to …well to be an active family with one another.   Actually, Norman Cousins wrote of such losses far more eloquently than I ever could:

“The greatest loss in life is not death itself, but rather what dies inside us as we live.”

When we lose a beloved family member (or work partner for that matter) due to petty arguments, personality differences, miles between us, jealousy, greed, divorce, workaholism, marriage to me-only spouses or whatever….it is truly one of the greatest losses in our lives…and the pain never goes away…we only learn to live with it and to not let it steal precious moments from us once we know we’ve done all we can to “fix” things, reunite, let go of our fight, etc.  And, the bottom line is that life is hard — really, really hard and our attitudes, sense of humor and values make it all worth while in spite of the goodbyes, the pains, the unknowns…..regardless of life’s bumps, bruises, wrong turns, heart aches and more, I believe it is critical that we truly live each moment – all of them….letting loose of the burdens of our pasts or unknown futures which only messes with and dilutes our “right now” this-is-life moments.

The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace ~ E. Tolle

The distance of miles is no longer an excuse not to stay connected in today’s world…a 5 second “I love you” or “Thinking of you right now!” text from a family member or friend can energize us beyond the best of exercises, energy drinks or whatever!  An unanswered family text or email, however, hurts…maybe we should be too old to let it hurt us, but it does.

Back to the goodbyes in our lives …we MUST make sure we’ve found a healthy way to deal with the big ones.  I had long ago forgotten about writing this reflection on a painful time in my family’s lives until I found a copy among my dear Mother’s things.  There’s a link below for those who may want to read it, but if nothing else, thanks for sharing a few minutes of your day on this page from my life… and, just know it’s never too late for us to deal with our feelings, our losses, our memories if they are indeed still needing sorting out, closure or more.

Life is full of goodbyes as we all know…from the most trivial and least hurtful to the most sudden, unexpected, painful and life-changing ones.  Here is my recounting – my rambling – of one of my first life-changing, heart wrenching goodbyes…the day my sweet, fun brother died…

86.12.01 NBJ. Memories of Brother’s Death

About the author 

Nancy Byerly Jones

Nancy Byerly Jones and her husband reside on their mountainside ranch (“Little Hee Haw Farm”) with an energetic “family” of horses, donkeys (large and miniature), dogs and cats. Their favorite pastime is sharing the joy and fun of their animals and ranch life with their family, friends and clients.

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  1. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger
    if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

    1. Many heartfelt thanks for your very kind words. I am definitely not a famous blogger :-))! I do try, however, to be one that shares lots of smiles, a good solution tip or two and some worthwhile “stuff” for healthy discussions. Be well and thank you again for taking the time to leave your comments.

  2. Wow…. as tears run down my face. I too have lost a beloved brother. Brought back memories and and the belief that he is my guardian angel. I often joke that he often speaks to God and says “we really don’t want her yet.”

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share that with me, Jennifer. I really love what you also shared about your brother telling God, “We really don’t want her yet.” That made me lol and is one I won’t forget. Wishing you good health and lots of smiles given and received in spite of our current updside down world!

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