This date for the last five years has been one that has prompted a wide range of emotions… sorrow, anger, grief, indecison. Wait, I hear your question. Indecision? Yes, indecision. Let me explain.
This time about a year ago. I got a calendar notification on my BlackBerry of my brother Devin’s birthday. He was murdered five years ago in March, and I was debating whether I should keep his birthday in my many online calendars which I receive notifications on my Blackberry. I decided at that time to delete it. It had been more than five years since he passed and I was ready to put the reminders of the day he was born to rest.
Or was it….. I really don’t remember everything I was thinking, but I used my MySpace and Facebook profiles to memorialize him on this day last year. That’s actually how i was connected to one of his close friends before his death who shared a beautiful poem at his funeral. The only reason I was still hanging on to the MySpace account was because of her and she’s on Facebook now so maybe I should delete that account… At any rate, since I have recently taken my place and or space in the blogosphere. I decided I would use this avenue to do that this year. This post was actually supposed to cover a few more topics, but those will have to wait.
I remember where I was when my mom called to tell me he’d been shot and was in the hospital. I was taken aback like how the… What??? I immediately prayed for and began to confess his recovery. In my mind there was no doubt that he would come out of the coma and begin the process of returning to the life he knew before the home invasion. I can remember at one point praying, “God when Devin comes out of the coma, please let his recovery be expedient…” and so on.
When my mother would call and tell me there was swelling on his brain and the doctors had to open the wound to alleviate some of the pressure in his cranium, I stood in faith that these things would all be a part of Devin’s wonderful testimony of the healing power of Jesus Christ.
And then she called to tell me he had been taken off life support and he breathed his last.
I hadn’t even entertained the thought that he might, could, or possibly even would die. I was confused. Not in that “I’ve lost my keys” sense, but confused like how is this even possible.
As I began to wrap my mind around what was going on, I began to think about how “I” wanted this story to end. I started to think about all the miracles I’d read about in the body and how the power to resurrect Christ from the dead was alive in me. As I made plans to travel to Atlanta, I was hopeful that I’d be witnessing a miracle and not attending my baby brother’s funeral…
After the funeral as I was talking with my family and one of my brother’s friends, I began to think about the tapestry that God weaved through each of our lives (and many others) through Devin’s life. I was still sad because I wouldn’t see him on this side of eternity again. I was sad because we won’t be able to share the joy of wedding days, children being born, and even just sitting around shooting the breeze. I was angry at God that day. Not because he allowed Devin to be taken from us in such a violent manner. Not because he was called home at such a young age. I think primarily it was because of all those things I was still grieving over… Not the what we hads, but the what we’ll never haves.
In time I’ve learned what’s on the other side of that coin. Instead of sulking about what I can’t have I’m thankful for what I do have. Memories of my brother “cutting a rug” for our family at gatherings (he was on point with the MC Hammer dance). Watching him play little league baseball when I was home during the summer. Even watching Home Alone, Home Alone 2, or Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure with him and Stevie.
Reflecting on that anger… Living in Iowa some 900+ miles away from where I grew up and getting home *maybe* once a year. I just missed him. A few weeks before he passed he called me and we talked for maybe 15-30 minutes. It wasn’t anything too deep, but it was the first time I had talked to him in months. What was so special about this is that we were connecting on a different level. I wasn’t putting him in a headlock, or body slamming him onto the couch in our basement back home. Likewise he wasn’t saying my name five gazillion times until I was annoyed or threatening to tell mom because I… well it wasn’t one of those conversations. I felt like in that one phone conversation we had transitioned from relating to each other as kid brothers to relating to one another as adults. So that’s why I was angry. Now, I’m thankful to have had that conversation and had one more chance to say…
“I love you”
Don’t take it for granted.
And in the vein of a song to honor those who have passed on, a little Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth