You’re not 41, you’re 18.

You were always the keeper of everything. I was such a destroyer. I break everything. I don’t mean that in such a depressing way. Though it really is when you think about it. I never knew what my problem was, I still don’t. I was always leaving things on the floor and accidentally stepping on them. I was always leaving things in places and losing them. I never had too deep of an emotional hold on anything. Then I would break or lose something I liked and that would convince me to release my emotional holds even further.  I never wanted to be hurt by loss.

But not you. You kept everything. Every ticket stub, every small trinket. You had cork boards full of mementos. Sometimes I find something old and marvel at how long I was able to keep it. Then I realize it was yours. Our mom would have bought two of something, one for each of us, and the reason one still exists is because of you. No matter what it was mine was probably torn apart or laying by the side of the road.

So because you were so sentimental I have all of these things to remind me of you. Every sticker you ever got. Every book you ever read. Even now when you’ve been gone more years than I even knew you, I can see you everywhere.

I’ve looked at this like a cube, from every different angle. For 22 years I’ve examined it. I’ve broken it down, I’ve pieced it back together. And I feel like I’m still no closer to explaining it. Still no closer to understanding it. What makes something real and not just an idea? Why is it so hard to let go of things? Why can’t you delete something and not be left with the holes?

I’m sure it seems like I grieve more on the same days in the same ways of every year. But its not true. Everyone is just seeing the final product of a culmination of days. This is just the highlight reel. Because even with time when things are supposed to fade I miss you the exact same way I always have. I miss you every single day, even when I don’t think about you.

It’s your birthday and I don’t know what a 41 year old you would be like. I have all these mementos of you that an 18 year old you thought were important. I don’t know if your favorite song would still be your favorite song. I don’t know what your favorite movie would be. I still want to buy you an ice cream cake on this day because that’s what you used to love. You are eternally in the 90s for me. Because you’ll never be 41, you’ll always be 18.

I’m so tired of being sad. But you’re just too important to let go of. Happy Birthday.



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