Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Jacket

We have been having some awesome snow days around here and the kids have been missing tons of school.

We rarely get snow, so this is a BIG deal!  I love snow days, but it means my kids often go to bed in the wee hours of the morning--long after I've stumbled to bed.

So I never know what I'm going to find when I wake up in the morning.  Usually lights and dishes.  I know you feel sorry for me that I have yet to teach my children to be adults.

But this morning?  I wandered into a flashback.  A pan of chocolate chip cookies.  Just one.  Patrick had tested his first ability at making cookies, and the remainder of the dough had ALL been consumed.  I assumed that since nobody had succumbed in the night to e-coli, all was well.  But it wasn't.  I wasn't.

When you lose a child you never know when the wind will be knocked out of your soul.

Joe used to stay up in the night making cookie dough and eating it.  A better description would be Joe coaxing Will to make cookie dough and then they would split the dough.  The deal was that Will would make the dough, and Joe would do the dishes.  Somehow, the dishes never seemed to get done.

But after allowing myself to feel that stab of loss, the joy of footsteps followed.  I love that Patrick walks in his brother's so often.

I know this may sound strange, but I find comfort in the similarity of these two boys, so much alike, not only in looks, and the sound of their voices, but also intelligence, quick wit, determination, and desire for adventure.  OH how they would have loved more years together.

But they are certainly each their own person.  And when Patrick asks, I often try to point out their differences, because I somehow worry that Patrick will feel a need to become someone he isn't meant to be.  I want him to be himself.  Especially now that Patrick attends the same high school as Joe did, Patrick hears the memories from teachers and coaches.  Patrick has even inadvertently been called "Joe."

I've talked to Patrick about it, and he seems to relish the similarities with his brother.  He knows he is his own person and feels confident in his own abilities, strengths, and personality.  But he also finds comfort in finding ways to honor his brother.  He knows their time together was prematurely severed.

At the beginning of the school year, Patrick decided to wear Joe's letterman's jacket everyday.

Memories. Grief.  Loss.  Joy.  Celebration. Love. Honor.

Brothers Forever.

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