November 15th marks a special day in my family. It is the day my brother died. Time continues in its cycles, but every November, from the 5th to the 15th I remember Matthan. I remember his beauty, his smiles, his humor. I remember his 16th birthday party and the pictures that we took as a family on our deck – not realizing these were to be the last images of us together – ever. I remember singing at his bedside in the hospital, watching the monitors and tubes and doctor’s faces for signs of hope or change. He lay in a coma for 10 days. We prayed he’d get better, but I think it was just the time we needed to say goodbye. There are so many things to say about death, loss, grief… This many years later it can still wash over me and I find myself crying on my knees, mid yoga pose. I do not always know how to process this. Today I am choosing to live, like Matthan would have wanted me too. I take my two sons to the beach. We swing as high as we can, Dassan and I, taking turns with Shore spidered on our laps. We throw rocks into waves and listen to the sounds. I watch a hummingbird dash into my view, from somewhere, and only have time to think – a hummingbird? On the ocean? in November? – before is dashes away. And then the sun comes out of the heavy clouds and the world is full of beauty again. Despite the heaviness in my soul, and heartbreakingly, because of it.
Then we are running down the strip of sand beside the crashing waves, and the boys fall on the beach, laughing. I need to keep going so I do, but my boots are too floppy, they sink too much into the sand. I must take them off. The sand is cold and wet, but I am free. Splashing in the last remaining edges of the sea before it recedes. This is life. I am thankful for this.