This week I remember my brother. It’s been a long time, now. 46 years. But the wound remains. Not so raw, but still tender.
I spent some time going through family albums my stepmother had assembled while visiting her and my Dad this summer. I find myself wanting to keep every picture. All these fragments of memory. Holidays. Vacations. Places we lived. Moments in time filled with love and loss and longing.
Tuesday was the anniversary of Ken’s aneurism; next Monday, the day they turned off the machines. He was 22. A life full of promise as so many young lives are – yet there was a special promise in Ken. He was interested in public service. We could use a few more with such ideals.
It’s hard to find words. He was a big brother, almost five years older. He was a savior and a tormentor. He saved me once when I went too far from shore on my little raft, waiting for the big wave to carry me in – but then the tide turned. He also put sand down my bathing suit which, it turned out, included a fistful of sand crabs. He was my guide, teaching me to shave – but laughing as he doused me with aftershave. He was my root and my anchor in a family life split between complicated stepfamilies. He read to me when I was sick and told me to get out of his room when I was well. He inspired a certain awe in me. Near him I always felt that I belonged – even when he told me to get lost.
He was one of those young men that had an impact on many around him. He was the kind of natural leader that leads without taking center stage. There was a goodness in him that drew the rest along. He made a difference at the college he attended. He was mourned by many. He is still.
Our society doesn’t spend much time looking back. Everything is about tomorrow and the next great thing. But I know I am not alone. We all have left things behind we wish we could have kept. We have all left people behind. We are all, in one way or another, limping.
“The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.” Genesis 32:31