A Letter to the Brother I’ve Never Met

A Letter to the Brother I've Never MetA few weeks ago, families around the globe celebrated national siblings day. You saw it on social media: the endless scroll of throwbacks and 90’s clothes. I saw it too. I considered digging through the archives to find the perfect photo of my sisters and me, but I decided not to. I wasn’t even going to post this at all. It was too personal. Too much about me. But I kept going back to this feeling that I needed to post this. Please don’t ask me to explain it, because I can’t. It’s just something I need to do.

So, here it is. An open letter to the brother I’ve never met:

Dear B.

When I was 5, I remember mom talking to someone in church about a baby she lost. I am the youngest so I just assumed she meant me. But I was confused because she never lost me anywhere.

When I was 7, she was crying on a summer day toward the middle of June. The sun was shining; it was warm. I asked her why she was sad and she told me about you for the first time. She explained that she and dad had a son. Being the curious kid that I am, I asked where you were.

She said my older brother lived with Jesus.

She explained that you were stillborn simply enough that I could understood.

It turns out that warm, June day was your birthday.

When I was 11, we went through the giant picture box. There was an envelope. She pulled the pictures out of it, and studied them with a sad look in her eye.

“Do you want to see what he looked like?”

She told me that it wasn’t a very nice picture. You didn’t look quite right. She assured me that it was okay to say no.

But I couldn’t say no, B. I had to know what you looked like when you were on this earth for a few short hours.

So I looked.

My stomach felt queasy. That’s not how I pictured you… and it’s not how I wanted to remember you.

Ever since then, I’ve thought about you. I try to picture your face, your personality, your mannerisms, and everything else there is to picture about someone. I get sad, B. I know I shouldn’t because you’re in heaven and that’s not sad at all.

But I’m sad for all the nevers.

You never fell in love with a beautiful girl.

You never taught me anything.

You never teased me or tickled me until I said to stop.

You never chased any boys away and you never bought me ice cream.

You never went to college.

You never grew up.

I don’t really know how heaven works. I don’t know if you can see me or if God clued you in on all my prayers about you.

But, I just want you to be proud of me.

I love you, B. I can’t wait to meet you someday.

– your little sister

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