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Everybody Wants You

xwindwxx.gifI don't know that you ever get over losing a loved one or if you just become hardened to the fact.

It's been 8 years since my brother Jim's unexpected death, followed by my brother Dan's a month later. Yesterday I was reminded at how far I have come from those first few tender years of grieving when I received a Sports Illustrated mailing in Danny's name that boldly announced on the envelope "We Want You Back!" and I was able to laugh and say to myself, 'yeah, I know what you mean.'

The week before, I got a phone call from a stranger asking me if I knew Jimmy Redman. "I had a brother Jimmy but he passed away," I answered without choking. The caller knew a Jimmy Redman and wanted to get back in touch with him. "Was your brother from the south?" "No," I answered determining that our Jimmy's were not the same person.

The call about Jim reminded me of one a few short years ago when someone asked for "Daniel Redman" and having to say the words "Daniel Redman is deceased" broke my heart.

Walking to the mailbox with Joe, I explained what had happened and then said to him, "It's as if thoughts of my brothers are tucked away in the back of a drawer. I know what's there (I've been through every detail more than once) but I don't want to open it anymore. Why? Because it doesn't change anything!"

Sometimes I miss my own tender yearning for my brothers and the heightened sense of awareness I felt in the first few years after they died, as opposed to the almost jaded acceptance I feel now.

It seems easier now but it's also harder. As time passes, the memories of them in my life grow farther and farther from my grasp.

~ James Michael Redman, November 22, 1946 - July 25, 2001.
~ Daniel Mark Redman, October 7, 1951 - August 29, 2001.

Note: This post is dedicated to Amy. Click and scroll HERE for more on losing a loved one.


Anita sent me your way. I have enjoyed scrolling through your posts. I live over Catawba way. Nice to meet you!

Sometimes, even if it hurts, it is comforting to be reminded that a loved one who has died once existed. It seems that over time you lose so many pieces of who they were, which for me is like continuing to lose pieces of myself. What refills those spaces? I suspect it depends on your loss. After eight years I am finding that I can better cope with the reminders of my husband, the memories. But what sometimes scares me is all the things I do not recall, the fear that they may be lost forever.

Well said, Mara. xo

Can't believe it has been 8 years for you. I think we tend to put their memories where we can find them when we need to - but, where they won't be so raw that the pain consumes us!

We also receive mail for my husband's father, who passed away years ago. It still strikes me.

Another thing that pangs me some days is when one of my daughters plays with a toy that my grandfather or my father-in-law gave them. Just a cheap, silly toy. And how is it that that insignificant thing lasted longer than my loved one? Why is it left behind and they are not? But then, I am grateful for the reminder that they existed and that they loved us and that we loved them. What more is there than sharing life with each other? And the reminder of loss comes with the correlary of pulling those we love closer and cherishing the time we do have with the important people in our lives. Because, unlike innocent children, we know loss and we know what a short time we have. And to know that is a gift.

i am always so moved by your posts regarding the loss of your brothers. grief wears so many faces, arrives in unexpected moments, and though blunted by time will be our companion always.

I know exactly how you feel. I just wrote about the same kind of feeling regarding what would have been my father's 57th birthday on July 25.

This has been a thought full discussion. My concern is not loosing memories of lost loved ones but memories of living loved ones. Thank goodness for journals and photo albums!

Hi, you dont know me and I happen upon your blog from following someone else but within grief and losing a loved one, a sibling and so unexpectantly..I know you and I hear you loud and clear. And as I read your blog, Everybody wants you..I could not pass by without saying how writing and continuously expressing our feeling about our loved ones keeps them alive. I struggle with that I am forgetting the sound of my sister's voice. Before she died she had a trach that robbed her of her vocal ability and it rob me of being able to hear her voice during those last times. That made me angry. But being able to have an outlet such as blogging has been a very relieving source of pain for me and also reading yours has just made me realize that I am not alone. Thank you. my deepest condolences to you and your family. Truly, Caprice

Thanks for all your very touching comments. This last one (Caprice) reminds me of how I still wonder what my brother Dan was trying to say just hours before he died. We did understand "I'm alright" after we took off the life supports, although it was garbled. The rest was even more garbled. We never got to say goodbye to Jim and we do remember him by the sound of his voice. It was so booming and with a thick Boston accent.

After my mother died, I continued to have mail delivered to her address so that I could notify senders that she had died. After six months, I filed a forwarding order with the Post Office and that was when AARP sent mail addressed to my mother to my address. I was so angry!! I somehow managed to contact someone in AARP (have you ever tried to contact a responsible person in AARP?) and told them to remove my address from every database that they had - I didn't want anything to do with AARP ever again. How cruel is that? To send mail addressed to a son's deceased mother to his address???

I didn't mind getting Dan's mail here for a while. There wasn't much of it and it kept him alive for me in a way, although each time it did open the wound of losing him again. I wanted to be reminded as I was struggling to grok it.

Getting mail from AARP mail is ironic. You would think they would know better.

I'm so sorry, Colleen. People say, "It gets easier", but is that really the case, or do we just numb down? We went to the gravesite last night where my mother put 9 red roses on the grave to commemorate their wedding anniversary. I didn't even want to be there this time.
I just finished a book by Irish-American poet/undertaker, Thomas Lynch. It's called "The Undertaking, Lessons from the dismal trade." I highly recommend it as it has the characteristic humour of an Irishman, coupled with perpicacity and philosophy. It is a fascinating book.

Peace to you on this journey.


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