Today, June 26, is Marc’s birthday. He would be 42 years old if he were here. But, he is celebrating his first birthday in heaven this year. That is wonderful! That is a great way to look at it! But, in all reality, it hurts just the same. He was too young to end his years of celebrating and we, his family, will feel the void today a little deeper, a little stronger.
I have been reading a book by T.J. Wray Surviving The Death Of A Sibling. She points out that siblings are often dismissed or minimized in the mourning process, focusing on the parents, spouses and children of the deceased. I have been fortunate to not have experienced this and unfortunate enough to know several others who have lost a sibling and that helps. I was just commenting to a friend yesterday that I find Marc in so many little things in life. Often I feel I am searching (and I know you do when you lose someone) but in my defense, he was a tremendous part of my entire life. It makes sense that a summer rain like we would play in, an old movie we both loved and quoted, a song we sang together as children, or even the familiar smell of mom’s cooking would invoke memories. He was woven into most every one I made growing up.
“The sibling relationship is more complex than nearly any other, a mixture of affection and ambivalence, camaraderie and competition. Aside from your parents, there is simply no one else on earth who knows you better, because, like your parents, your brothers and sisters have been beside you from the very beginning…in terms of the span of time, the intimacy, and the shared experience of childhood, no other relationship rivals the connection…from schoolyard bullies to teenage broken hearts, from careers to marriage to dreams unfulfilled, our siblings have been there through it all…they are the keepers of secrets, perennial rivals for our parents’ affections, and a secure and familiar constant in an often precarious and uncertain world.” T.J. Wray Surviving The Death Of A Sibling
He was born when I was not even 2 years old (twenty months old to be exact). I do not have a memory without his presence. Mom and Dad were indulgent and with it just being Marc and I, we made birthdays a big deal. So much so, we each got a present for the other’s birthday. Maybe just a barbie or some hot wheels, and by no means as much as the birthday boy or girl, but Mom and Dad did this until we were adolescents. It would seem this was a bit much and they were spoiling us. But, I think they actually instilled in a us the importance of celebrating the other’s special day. I know other families celebrate birthdays but we have ALWAYS celebrated birthdays! And, I think we would find it offensive if we did not. In the 41 years Marc and I celebrated birthdays together, we forgot the others (that we would admit) once each. Now, he most likely had the assistance of a wonderful wife to remind him, but I never knew. It was funny that we both forgot the same year and we both called each other on the other’s birthday to “just talk” never realizing what day it was!
But, I have to show for the majority of those birthdays, a collection of humorous cards (mainly potty humor), practical joke gifts (he never failed to make me laugh at myself) and a phone call to say, “Happy Birthday, Sis”.
Marc’s First Birthday with me (most likely about to blow his candle out for him):
Marc found joy in life. He never missed an opportunity to celebrate it and find new ways to have fun. He was the one who wanted to deep fry the turkey for Thanksgiving, he made dirty santa the best part of our Christmas traditions with his “creative gifts” and he was the most fun in the pool when we celebrated his birthday, Mom’s birthday or the 4th of July. Every time we deep fry a snicker, cannonball into the pool, shoot fireworks or choose a funny card, Marc will be with us.
So today, the family will gather at my house around the grill and in the pool. We will eat cake, laugh, and remember the good times with Marc. We will create new traditions for his children, Ethan and Darcy. We will celebrate him. There is no sadness in knowing he is in heaven. There is a joy in knowing heaven is real and he is waiting for us there. But, there is a sadness that Mom, Dad, Nancy, Ethan, Darcy, I and his closest family and friends feel because he is not HERE.