July 22, for most of my life, has been a day of celebration—cakes and ice cream and birthday presents for my younger brother, Ryan. Ever since I can remember, he has been there by my side: my playmate, my gopher, and the pain in my behind. But in August 2006, my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, his sudden death throwing my entire family into a tailspin.
For the past 2 years, this has been a hard day to struggle through. I remember the good times we had. I remember his last birthday celebration at my parents’ house, just weeks before his death, and how we teased each other and harassed each other, as usual. I think back to the birthdays when he was a kid, pool parties in the backyard and boy-themed cakes and favors. I miss him terribly.
His death still seems unreal. Many days I feel like, if I just drove over to Eagle Mountain Lake, he’d be at the docks, getting his boat ready for a spin on the water. It is only recently that I don’t stare hard at every red racing motorcycle that goes by, irrationally expecting to see my brother on the back and to learn that his death was just a big mix-up. I am especially sad that Aiden never really had a chance to know his Uncle Ry-Ry, who would delight at Aiden’s mischievous streak and, no doubt, be teaching my son all sorts of trouble to get into!
This year, though, July 22 was a day of not only sadness, but rejoicing. Our friends, Brooke and Will Lasher, welcomed their new son, Breckin, into the world. It was a wonderful reminder that life does go on, that death and sorrow will never reign for long, and that God will always give us a reason to rejoice, even through the darkest days. I’m so happy for them and look forward to meeting their son and watching him, and his parents, grow. (Check out their blog, Ransomed Ones, for pics.)
So Happy Birthday, to my brother who has left this world for heaven, and to this new little miracle, Breckin, who so recently arrived.