July 18th would have been my brother’s twenty-ninth birthday; what should be a day of joy and celebration has become one of the saddest days of the year. As it grows closer, I can’t help but feel … distraught. With each passing day, I feel as if I become weak. Maybe it’s because I can’t imagine having to celebrate my brother’s life without him physically here for it, or maybe it’s because even in the world around us, we can’t seem to escape these senseless murders.
Growing up, it was always something you just saw in the movies – somebody loses a family member and they’re left picking up the pieces of a soul who will never return. As you grow older and become more aware of what’s happening in the world, you pray to God that you never have to experience that pain – that The Lord protects those around you. But when you’re one of the unfortunate families who experiences that grief, it hits differently. In a sense, they say that overcoming tragedy is supposed to make us stronger. We learn from those lessons in life, and although we may not understand God’s plan we somehow cope with the changes in our lives. Death has a strange way of bringing people together; you mourn over the loss of a beautiful soul … you promise to always be there for each other. You know the saying, “I’m thinking about you, please don’t hesitate to call if you need anything.” Maybe for the first month, that saying is true.
You call, and they come running.
When all is said and done, what happens down the road? Months pass, and time begins to slow down for those in mourning, People assume that in time, we stop mourning and somehow learn to move on with our lives. And yet that’s far from the truth, everything is a constant reminder of the life we lost … it is a pain that will never go away, a thorn in your side that will never seem to stop poking away at you, breaking you down slowly. Everybody in the world continues to move and there you are, stuck, wondering how you can continue with you life. July 18th is one of those days that seems almost like a nightmare; in a perfect world, we could simply skip that day as if it never happened.
My heart hurts for these families, because this feeling … this unsettling stress that surrounds their daily lives is one that may never go away, but may get easier to deal with, in time. I wish I could post one simple, “stop the violence,” and it would all end, but life isn’t that simple. Instead, we need to come together – and for those who say, “call me anytime,” let that open invitation have no expiration date. As time passes, people tend to move on, and it shouldn’t be that way – be a friend and love on a person who is hurting, Today, I am praying for all of those families … for all of us who may not be able to find a rainbow in the clouds – a celebration amongst grief. We are working together, and we will heal.