29 years ago today you were born. In a perfect world you’d have a wife now, and maybe a bunch of kids. You’d have a job you love. And a house. With a fence. And a dog. In a perfect world your father lives. And your grandfather doesn’t. You grow up with two parents who love you and do their best, even of they aren’t perfect. In a perfect world you don’t go to war. Instead you go to college, where you meet and fall in love with your wife. And today that wife would invite us all over to celebrate your special day. We’d do all the things crazy dysfunctional people do, but we’d be together. We’d crack jokes about how old you’re getting, and there would probably be cake in your face. Man, have we made some messes with cake over the years. Maybe you’d have a few beers afterward with Kim to celebrate her birthday, too.
Instead today I took our mother to the cemetery to visit your grave. I stood with her and listened to the story of the day of your birth. I stood with her while she cried, and I heard the anguish in her voice when she told you this isn’t how it was supposed to be. For a minute, standing in the brilliant sunshine, I couldn’t comprehend that it was your name on that stone. That we would never, ever see you again.
Today I cried. A lot.
Today I spent the day thinking about you.
Talking about you.
Wishing you were here.
This world we live in, it’s not perfect at all.
Happy Birthday, little brother. I love you.