Friday, February 11, 2011

a day to remember

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
~W.S. Merwin, "Separation"

Tonight I will be raising my glass to toast my brother, Phil. Today would have been his 46th birthday.  Last month marked one year since Phil lost his battle to colon cancer.  While I was painfully aware of that milestone, I determined that the anniversary of his death would not be a day of recognition.  Instead, I choose to celebrate his life, his birth.  Tonight, you will find me, along with Countrymouse and some others that miss him, in one of Phil’s favorite local places, sharing some sushi and a beer, reminiscing.

A quick look in the mirror or through a photo album will confirm we’re all aged but I think there is a kind of time warp in siblinghood that allows us to see each other as we always were.  I suppose this can be detrimental at times, but overall, I think it helps foster our relationships.  While life can try to wrap its fingers around us, this perception helps free us from its grasp.

Tonight, I will think about my brother as we boarded a plane in Scotland to return to the States all by ourselves.  We were just 8 and 9 years old.  My ears wouldn’t pop.  (I still have that problem). Since we were traveling alone, we were moved to First Class.  Phil insisted that the man sitting across from us was Johnny Cash.  I wouldn’t believe him.  It was.

I will also think about getting dressed up for all those DeMolay dances we went to in high school.  Phil would ask me to blow dry his hair and use my curling iron on it so all his layers would lay just right.  (This was the height of Saturday Night Fever, after all.)

I will also remember the summer before Phil’s senior year in high school when my parents lost all their common sense and let Phil live (and supposedly work) at the beach all summer.  Countrymouse is still in shock over this more than 25 years later.  In his version of the story Phil gets younger and younger.  I think the latest version has Phil at age 12.  (He was really 17.)  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve laughed over Countrymouse’s indignation (which I think probably was just plain ol’ jealousy). 

I’ll remember many other things about Phil.  I always do.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him.  As adults we didn’t always live close to one another and our relationship would also experience some distance from time to time.  However, I can’t think about my childhood or my life without thinking about my brother.  I miss him terribly.  When I think of Phil, I try my hardest to be thankful for all that we did have and shared.  The proverb I shared at his memorial echoes in my heart more today than ever… 

 “Say not in grief 'He is no more' 
but live in thankfulness that he was".


  1. Your brother sounds like an awesome person. It must be difficult to miss him so much, but I love that your family and friends are celebrating his life by going to sushi. He was lucky to have you too.

  2. this made me cry! i think it's because i know how much you love him and i can feel your hurt. i linked your post up today with mine. i hope you don't mind.

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your brother sounds like such a great guy

  4. Wow. What an amazing person he must have been! I think celebrating a person's life is the perfect way to recognize a day like today. My thoughts are with you are as you reminisce.

  5. This was incredibly beautiful...and with your words, it described him so well. What a wonderful man. Thinking of you and your family.

  6. This is a beautiful post and I feel for you and your family. I wrote about my Dad yesterday because it was the anniversary of his passing. The memory will always be so vivid and close to our hearts. I wish you well.

    Mama Hen

  7. Oh Sugar, what a wonderful post and tribute to your brother. Thinking of you....

  8. I went to a viewing today of a friend of mine; he was a few years younger than me. I knew his wife and oldest daughter but today met the rest of his family. My friend was in the natural order of things; parents die and years later their children die. Phil was outside that natural order and that's what makes it doubly heartbreaking. Looking through Jess's photo album on fb brought it all back. I will keep going back; I don't want to let go.

  9. Wow- you almost had me in tears...I lost my brother 14 years ago November.

    I was just thinking about him yesterday...we both used to watch the soap opera "All my children".

    I had stopped watching it before he passed away, but we used to discuss it now & then.

    I can't tell you how many times in the first year or so that after he dies that I would think of something about AMC and pick up the phone to call weird.

    Anyway, visiting from Never growing Old's Over 40 blog-hop.

    I have a few blogs:

    Blogging Biz Mom

    Working at home advice

    Come on home

  10. Good for you. More and more people are learning the value of celebrating life and being happy. I know your brother is looking down on you all with a smile. Hello! I'm here from the blog hop and your newest follower. Hope you'll visit and follow me too. I'd like to be one of your blogging friends. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Such a moving post and reminds me to be very thankful for all the people who remain in my life. I'm here via SITS.

  12. What a lovely tribute to your brother! And that is just too cool you were on the same plane with Johnny Cash!

  13. That's a great quote at the end! So glad you are able to celebrate your brother's life - so sad he won't be with you.

    Have a wonderful week.

  14. After listening and enjoying your song selection, I scrolled up and read this post.
    It really hit home for we have lost a few loved ones in the last two years.
    Death leaves a void and best way that I know to ease that is to do as you wrote - Fill the void with memories, and be thankful they were in your life.

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. Phil sounds like he was a great brother. His days on earth were just too short.
    Blessings, Beth

  16. Hello...

    So sorry for your loss, my friend! I loved the proverb that you shared at the end of this post...tis so true!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  17. I think the first year anniversary is always the worst.

    Stopping in from Thirsty Thursday. I am a new follower here.

    Wakela's World

  18. What a beautiful tribute adn celebration of your borther.
    Thank you for sharing a bit of him and you with us.
    Coming by from Thirsty Thursday Blog hop.

  19. a very poignant must have had a very special bond with your brother...i do with my two and i can well imagine how devastating a loss you have suffered. thank you for sharing.


    stuff and nonsense

  20. Great looking family :). Stopping in on Friday Hops. Hope you have a great weekend. New follower.


  21. Hi, I found you on Social Parade on Friday and I'm a new follower. Hop over and say hi if you get a chance!

    I love all the pics!

  22. Following you on GFC from Social Parade on Friday. Please return the favor.


  23. Blog hopping today and am your newest follower. I hope that 1 of my blogs interests you too.

    I also do a weekend blog hop, you can link up on open every Friday-Sunday!

  24. new gfc follower, pls check out my blog at


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