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A Letter To My Big Bro, At Thanksgiving

Dear Jonathan Arthur,

Well, this year will be our first Thanksgiving since you died. And it sucks. I mean, it doesn’t suck- You know how much I love Thanksgiving because I get to hang out with my favorite family ever, AND stuff my face and drink all day long. That stuff’s all still pretty cool. It just really, really sucks that you’re not here to pile your plate with food and then clog my toilet afterwards. Sorry I just told the world about that, but you know it’s true. We all do it. It’s cool. Thanksgiving just won’t be the same without that stuff. It’ll never be the same. I’m trying to accept that- You know, that whole ‘acceptance’ stage of grief- But I’m not sure I ever will. Sometimes if I don’t think about it, I can still sort of pretend you’re still out there somewhere, looking at boobies on the computer. But then I realize you’re not. And holy shit, it’s then that I miss you so much that it hurts. I still cry every single day for you, and every night when I go to sleep, I pray that God will let you come visit me in my dreams. With little Max. And sometimes you do. I’m thankful for that. That even if I can never see you or hear your voice when I’m awake, I get to sometimes when I sleep. It’s not the same, but hey, at least it’s somethin’. I’m also thankful that you’re fully clothed in my dreams, otherwise that’d just be freakin’ weird.

So this Thanksgiving, I’m extra thankful for all of the kickass people I still have here to share food and booze with, and I’m also thankful for all the memories I have with you, and that I got to have you as my big brother. And don’t worry, I’ll still make your disgusting turkey liver crap, even though it makes me want to vomit. Do me a favor and come party with us for a while. Knock some shit off the counter or something. And bring little Max with you. I know you guys are taking care of each other up there.

Happy Thanksgiving, big brother. I’ll eat a giant turkey leg just for you. Well… Sort of for me, too. That shit’s delicious.

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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Cancer, Life

 

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My Brotha From The Same Motha

Last night, the world lost an amazing human being, and I lost my older brother, Jon.

A few things have occurred to me here:

1.) I don’t think I’ve ever really felt pain before. I mean sure, I’ve lost people, I’ve been dumped, I’ve eaten the last of the microwave popcorn and forgotten to get more… But this. This is something completely different. There is an actual physical pain in my heart that I’ve never experienced before. It’s like Jon died and left behind a tiny little man kicking the shit out of my heart, Bruce Lee-style. When they coined the term ‘brokenhearted’, I guess I know now what they really meant.

2.) The mind is an amazing thing. Memories I thought had long faded are suddenly back. Listening to 8-track tapes in my parents’ room and pretending to be The Chipmunks (He was Alvin. I was Theodore. There was no third chipmunk. We were enough.); The time he slashed his leg open pretending to be Freddy Krueger. Our family road trip out west when he ordered the Short Stack of pancakes at every single restaurant we stopped at along the way. Listening to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 together, and waiting for Van Halen’s ‘Jump!’ to be number one again for the 12th week in a row. Listening to Pointer Sisters records in the basement. Jon introducing me to the scary German music that is Rammstein. Jon’s karaoke version of ‘Big Balls’, and subsequent drunken fall off the stage at my other brother’s wedding. Watching ‘The Breakfast Club’ so much we could recite every single word. It’s either a cruel joke or an incredible blessing the things you remember when someone’s gone. I haven’t yet decided which.

3.) I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to NOT have three older brothers. I don’t know how NOT to have holidays that include Jon piling enough food on his plate to feed a small country. I don’t know how NOT to call him to fix my laptop because I’m horrible with computers. I don’t know how to NOT to say “Awwwww Jon!” in unison with my two other brothers when Jon rips one at family gatherings. (We’re a gassy bunch.) Nothing will be the same. Ever. I know people say change is good, but frankly, this change, for lack of a better term, sucks.

4.) I’m pissed. Royally. Pissed that there are people who are allowed to live long, healthy, full lives, who are far less deserving than Jon. He was genuine, he had an amazing soul, and one of the greatest hearts of anyone I know. The fact that he never had the chance to fall in love, get married, have kids, and grow old just pisses me off. There’s supposed to be a reason for everything, but for the life of me, I can’t understand why my incredible, smart, and big-hearted brother was taken at just 40 years old.

But in the end, as angry, as confused, and as overwhelmed with sadness as I am, nothing will change the fact that he’s gone. I have no choice but to go on thinking the world and this life are simultaneously incredible and tragic, to be thankful for every single moment, and to pay far more attention to things I overlook most days- The greenness of the grass; The taste of Friday night margaritas; Sitting on the couch after a long day at work; Riding my bike down a deserted trail; How good it feels to drive down a country road with the window down and the music blasting. Because these are all everyday miracles. I don’t think a single day will go by for the rest of my life that I won’t think about and miss my big brother. And I hope I don’t. Because he deserves to be remembered.

Love you always, J.A.

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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Cancer, Life

 

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