Friday, June 1, 2007

Happy birthday, Brother

Today is my brother's birthday. If he were alive, he'd be 33 years old. He'd have at least one youngster running around, maybe two. He'd bring his family down often to visit us in Las Vegas, and he'd ask me about my Amanda. Dana would be pleased with Treg's growth, and he and Maryann would have a kick-ass garden. I bet he'd buy cars at the auction to work on and resell and he'd have 'projects' strewn up and down the driveway. He'd be driving Maryann nuts!

But he's not alive. He's eternally 29 years old, and I haven't talked to or pretend-karate-chopped him for nearly four years. I think about him all the time, but not usually in a sad way. I think of him at Lin’s with that maroon apron on. I think of the grin on his face when Maryann took him skydiving. I think of how diligent he was in heading out to the lake early to get the good water. He would invite me along and teach me how to pull a skier vs. a wakeboarder.

But I rarely think of him consciously. Instead, he usually just pops into my mind at random moments and I suddenly realize he's there. I don't know why, but I just start thinking about him. But I don't think of memories; rather, I get pictures of Dana in my head. It's odd to think about someone that's been gone for so long. You stop remembering actual events, and instead remember them in pictures that you've seen. I always think of this picture first:

Most of you know that Dana is/was my 'favorite' brother - meaning we were the closest in age, in silliness, in interests, and in attitude. This is what I wrote about his death in my old blog. I miss him. I miss him a lot. I missed him the most on my wedding day. I'm really going to miss him when I have children that he won't be around to play with. But it generally hurts less and less as time passes.

I've had a few dreams about Dana, and one in particular has really stuck with me. I kick myself for not writing it down the morning I woke up and remembered it, but I estimate I had this dream last October. I woke up and told it to Josh, then I called Russ and told it to him. I'm pretty sure I told it to Maryann and my mom, and I've gone over it a thousand times in my head and remember it almost perfectly.

We were riding in the back seat of my mom's old blue car. It went Maryann, Dana was in the middle, and then me on the right. We were being silly and laughing and I suddenly turned and said to Dana, "Wait, we've had this conversation before. You're dead, aren't you?" and Dana smiled at me. Then suddenly it was just me and Dana on the side of a road (I think it was down the street from my folks' old house, near the winery) and we were standing next to a car with either the hood or the trunk up. We were talking and laughing again and as he shut the hood or trunk, I asked him why he didn't come back. "Don't you miss us? Don't you miss Maryann?" I asked him. He smiled at me again and told me that I didn't understand how great things were 'up there.' Then I woke up.

His smiles were peaceful in my dream - not creepy or weird. I think Dana is happy in Heaven. It will be so nice to see him again.

Happy birthday, Brother. I love you.


Laurie said...

Wow, four years. It's still pretty fresh. What a very sweet post. How is Maryann doing nowadays?

I'm positive our relatives who have passed really do visit us in our dreams. I've had that happen, and it's such wonderful closure, it really is. It's so nice to know that while things are great up there, he's still down here watching over you, protecting you, sharing in your joys and sorrows. Or so it seems that's what the message was in your dream. :)

chartie said...

Thanks for that post. I had a similar experience with a dream that I had about my younger brother that passed away. I'll have to send it to you.

Trude said...

That was a beautiful post to your brother. Thanks for sharing with us.

Sherpa said...

I echo Laurie--what a sweet, tender post.

My mom had a similar dream a couple of years after my grandpa died. All she remembered was hugging my grandpa (he had really strong hugs) and then waking up crying happy tears.

I've dreamt about family members, but oddly my dog that was a part of my life from the time I was 7-21 (I picked him out of the litter as a puppy, and he died while I was in the mtc) is my most regular visitor from the great beyond in my dreams.

Daisy Paige said...

I have always thought Dana watches us. My Mom thinks I'm crazy because we've basically been taught that he's super-busy up in the spirit world teaching others the gospel that didn't have the opportunity to hear it on Earth. While I do think that's true, I'm sure Heavenly Father lets them take breaks once in a while, don't you think?

As for Maryann...she was lucky enough to meet and marry a widower named Jon, and become the 'second mom' to his two children. They are so happy together and those kids are awesome! We're all certain that Dana and Heidi (Jon's wife) are up there watching over all of us together. Shoot, maybe they're friends with Chartie's brother, and play fetch with Sherpa's dog!

Daisy Paige said...


Chris, send me your dream! Joy, I'm sorry that your dog died while you were away from home. After having him for so long, I'm sure that wasn't easily dealt with. No wonder he comes back to visit you often.

Sherpa said...

Yeah, I think our deceased family members check up on us. There's also very unnoficial doctrine on "guardian angels" that are our deceased ancestors, and I wonder about that too.

I've had those moments where I'm doing something and all of a sudden thoughts of my grandma will pop in my head, and then the thought goes through my head that she might be close by. I sometimes shrug it off, but I wonder.

Oh, my dog was my buddy all growing up. (I had other friends of course, but he was a good, faithful dog who was always around.) He was pretty sick and old (he was 14 when he died) his last couple of years.

I don't recall struggling at all with his death--I knew it was inevitable and its not the same as when a close family member or friend passes. I have an "odd" story about when he died though.