The Good Lord Giveth And The Good Lord Taketh Away
Ethan Edward Whitesel
February 2, 1982 - Ocotber 29, 2008
I am afraid that I am going to forget his voice.
Of all the things that could keep me awake at night, it's the thought of forgetting his voice that haunts me deep down in my soul. If I forget his voice, what else am I going to forget about my brother? What happens if all the memories fade? What happens if I forget his stories? His laughter? Perhaps, my true fear isn't that I will forget at all, but rather that I will always remember and forever be broken?
Today marks five years that my brother has been gone. Not a single day has been easy. Time does not heal all sorrows. That is a damn lie. Time distorts grief. Packages differently but never really ever diminishes it. It is no longer all consuming but every day, it is there.
It usually happens during a happy time. A fleeting thought during a celebration, during a holiday, during a perfect moment. That is when I miss Ethan the most. A thought that makes me feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. It is in these moments that I realize that this darkness can eclipse the brightest of days and I am reminded of all the things that he will miss out on. My spouse will never meet my brother. He won't stand up with us on our wedding day. My children will never meet their Uncle. They will never feel the unconditional love that Ethan bestowed upon his family and my heart breaks because of this. True, they will never meet him, but they will always know him. That I can guarantee.
Five years without him feels infinite in relation to his life. The only comfort is that that kid lived the hell out of the short amount of time he was given. He talked too much and too fast. He made choices always with his heart, rarely with his head. He loved and trusted with this reckless abandon that even now I cannot fully understand. He didn't need me to understand. He didn't need anyone to understand. He understood and that was all that mattered.
I have to admit that I haven't had a decent argument since he has been gone. He had a way of making me look at the world differently. I have this terrible habit of thinking I am always right, even when I am absolutely wrong. Mix that in with foolish pride that makes me rather eat rocks than admit that I am incorrect and you can imagine situations got a bit heated. Rest assured that being my best friend and brother, Ethan, took it upon himself to always call me on my bullshit and let me know when I was being completely ridiculous, which of course made me lose my mind. It's funny that you can even miss fighting with a person.
He also had tendency of telling me what to do. Usually he was right. I am a big believer that everything that happens is all part of this grander plan. In the five years since he has been gone, many new people have come into my life. Some for a short time, others have become more permanent fixtures but all have came with a lesson. Sometimes it is so blatantly obvious that Ethan had his hand in the mix of these various individuals that I have to look up and say, "Alright, Bubba, stop pushing."
Today marks an anniversary but there will be no party. There is nothing to celebrate. There are no happy memories that correlate to this date that changed us all at our core, five years ago. This day will always serve as a reminder that life is not fair. However, I do have a wish for you all, if you knew him or even if you didn't. My wish is that you try to see the world through Ethan's eyes. That you look for the best in everyone that you encounter. That you believe that every single person is capable of good. That you always have the courage to defend others. That you stand up for what you believe in even if you have to stand alone and that you forgive even if it is not necessarily deserved. Make a few choices without thinking it completely through. Laugh, just because you can and remember that we are guaranteed nothing in this life, not even tomorrow, so tell the people you love how you feel. Today do that for me...and for him.
Missing you today and every day, big brother.
Rest Well, Old Friend.