My brother Josh’s birthday is today. He would be twenty-six. It’s been nearly eleven years since he died. I used to be just four years older than him and now I am fifteen. I had this thought while walking to Free Tibet Campaign yesterday.
I’ve been sad this week. It’s strange how your subconscious can react to something inside you that you don’t even realise will be so upsetting. It’s like clockwork; every year during the week of his birthday I over react to simple situations; I cry at the smallest things, and I find it hard to wake up in the morning. Then I get to just a few days before and I look at the calendar and I realise why I feel so down. It never gets easier.
I don’t remember Josh’s last birthday alive, but I do have a photo of him on our bookshelf that was taken at the time. He posed while celebrating with his friends. I held the photo close to my chest Wednesday evening as the tears came down. I finally let go of the control I was trying to keep, letting the sadness seep out of me into reality. And I felt better somehow.
Every year we still celebrate his birthday in some way, so that it’s still a happy memory and an important day. This year Ali and I went to an Amnesty UK conference and out to lunch in Shoreditch. Afterwards, we took the long way home, walking through various parks. We stopped to get mini-cupcakes and picked up a funny film to watch after we cook a nice dinner together. We are going to sit in our garden and eat some ice cream and just enjoy being together. I called my mom and we had a few good laughs to stories she shared about her morning with my nephew, Ethan. It’s been a good day.
The days leading up to today were so full of sadness and meloncholy, that now it is here, I feel calm. And celebratory. I feel content and I’ve made another happy memory on Josh’s birthday, even if he isn’t here to share it with me.