I almost wrote out an invitation to my brother.
It was this fraction of a second that happened while sitting at my dining room table scribing invitations for my son’s graduation party.
It’s a celebratory moment in his life, a first and a last. He worked hard to graduate early and has overcome statistical odds that his past experiences have pronounced over him. My heart swells.
I was going over the list in my head, mainly of the immediate family.
And my brother.
But wait. Not for my brother. I remembered the bitterness of this and it crashed over me like a wave of fresh sadness.
It has been 3 months and you know, it’s not like he and I got to see each other that much in our adult lives. We lived a bit of a drive from each other. We both worked a lot and the busyness of life gets in the way of the best intentions.
It’s the fact that the option is now removed. There will be no more Christmas’s. No more moments where we laugh at the same thing. There are only memories now.
Time marches on.
The sun still rises.
Spring returns flowers to us once again.
His nephew still graduates.
Babies enter this vast world.
People still send kids off to school and still rush in traffic and still punch a clock.
Time marches on for the living, as it should, even if pain tries to demand that it stop.
It has to. Time cannot stop, for it has to behold all the beauty all around.
Yes, grief and celebratory, joyous moments do indeed co-exist.
They also have to. Joy would be foreign unless we are acquainted with pain. And grief would be unbearable if we never knew joy. So they link arms. They ebb and flow and make room for each other. They don’t cancel each other out. They nod in proper respect to each other, a united front in this life thing.
The pain is proof of the love, so I’ll welcome it. And in a few weeks, we will celebrate this middle child of ours, and I will fully embrace that too, even though there’s an empty seat at the table.
It’s entirely possible to feel happy and sad and to move forward carrying both. And I know that it's much better to love and to lose than to forfeit the loving part.