It is a fearful thing, to love what death can touch.-Yehuda HaLevi
My sister died a few days ago.
We didn’t see each other much. My dad was married twice and had a whole set of kids before me and my immediate brothers and sisters were born. They were all grown before we came along and had their own lives by the time any of us could talk. But they all were a part of our early lives in important ways we couldn’t imagine back then. Of my dad’s first set of kids I can honestly say I loved them all very much, and wished I would have seen them more. But life separates you just as easily as it brings you together. They all taught me many things throughout their lives. Some things stick out in my mind more than others.
My oldest brother Jesus taught me about brothers. Before he introduced 10-year-old me as his brother and not his “half-brother” to a group of his friends, I did not know what it meant to share the same blood. He pushed the notion out of my head that there are degrees of anything when it came to brotherhood. We were brothers. That was it. (RIP)
My brother Jose Luis taught me that life was not always fair. He taught me that life will beat you down and try and take everything from you and you can’t let it. He taught me that you can’t always win, but you never give up. You wake up every day and you try. (RIP)
My sister Aurora (who just passed) taught me about strength. If there was ever a human being that you could point to and say “this human being is strong”, it was her. She was a pillar of strength her entire life and worked every day until the last few weeks of life. She had a strong belief in family (9 children) and they made up her entire existence. When I think I am not strong enough to live in this world I think of her. (RIP))
My brother Raul is the only brother I have left that is older than me. He taught me to laugh. I do not recall a single time that we spoke to each other when I was little that we did not joke and laugh about something. He moved far away a long time ago, but I still smile when I think of him. The world needs more people like him.
I have learned a lot from all my brothers and sisters as we all got older. Of my mom’s kids, we are all still around. We are all still going strong, but none of us are young anymore. Some day, and hopefully not anytime soon, there will come a time when one of us is sitting around remembering the rest. I hope our lives are as full as the ones lived by my brothers and sisters that are now gone. I hope the kids and the grandkids are too many to count. I hope the fear of losing those we love is drowned out in the memories we share about them.
I hope we are all remembered as fondly as I remember them.