My brother was the type to give me piggy-back rides to school (which, he often did), bring me to the playground without being asked and teach me everything a little girl needed to know. When he babysat, I was treated to french toast, pancakes, ice cream, whatever I wanted. If I needed help on my homework (even though I was rather young), he was the only one to bother helping. Sure, he did the usual brother things like trip me, and pick on me, but he was so nice.
I remember one incident, when I was supposed to read to someone for my homework. They were supposed to fill out some kind of sheet saying how many mistakes I made, etc. No one would let me read to them. So, as was my usual at the young age of six, I went crying to my brother. Ryan, though he was busy doing his own homework, immediately made time for me. He listened to me read for at least a half hour, smiling the whole time. He never once criticized my mistakes.
But, one day, my whole world came crashing down. My brother, mad at his mother (A real witch, my father's first wife), had gotten into his horrible, crappy car, and drove back to our house. Somehow, along the way, he went off the road. No one knows exactly what happened, they assume the brakes weren't working correctly. My brother hadn't been drinking, the roads weren't icy, he had his seat belt on. But, that day, April 21, 2003, would mark his last day on Earth.
I don't recall the first half of that day, except going across the road, to my friend's house. I distinctly recall looking across the road and seeing a lot of cars in the drive way. I commented something like, "Mom and Dad must be having a party." I had no idea how wrong I was. When I was walked over to my house, I went inside to find my family sitting at the kitchen table, all solemn. My parents brought me into their room, both of them crying. I was confused and figured my parents were getting a divorce (It made perfect sense, they fought all the time). But, my dad (Ryan's dad, Ryan and I don't share a mother), looked at me and said, "Ryan's dead." I distinctly recall being shocked. It didn't seem possible. I was only 6, almost 7, and didn't totally grasp the concept of death. My other brother, my mother's son, came in the room then and picked me up. He carried me into the living room and held me. That moment, to this day, is the only time I have ever seen Jason cry. It's also, possibly, the only time he has ever hugged me.
Some people think I should be over it by now, "considering it was 8 years ago, and really, how much can you remember about him?". Others don't know what to say, and just mutter some type of apology. Really though, after 8 years, the pain is worse than before. Maybe because, now, I can really understand what happened. I might have been young, he might have been 10 years older than me, but we were close. And nothing hurts as much as the loss of him. Especially on today, April 21, 2011. Eight years ago, my brother lost his life. Eight years ago, a little part of me died along with him.