“It was 2 months yesterday since my brother last experienced her warm breath on his face but if he closed his eyes he could almost feel it now. Her dark face was so expressive. She looked at him with love and adoration even when he didn’t want anything to do with her, but she would wait patiently for his mood to change because she loved him that much. She knew that all she had to do was give him “that look” and he would respond to her lovingly. She knew she had that power over him – that power that not many had. He longed for that look now, just one more time.
For the first time yesterday, he shared with me the picture he had taken of her and placed lovingly in a frame; the picture I imagine that has a special place next to his bed. The picture reflected perfectly the love she had for him and as he looked at the photo momentarily before handing it to me, his reflection could be seen in her eyes. A shared love.
As I touched the framed picture I remembered my own love. The giant man with the red hair. I clearly remembered – no felt – the heartbreak of the last time I felt his warm body next to mine or looked into his eyes. I dare not close my eyes now or I too, like my brother now, would be overcome with a rush of emotion that I didn’t want to feel; that I wish I had never had to experience. My love has been gone years and my pain, at times, is just as great as the day he left this earth. His sweet Lucy has been gone two months; his pain is fresh, cutting deep to his soul.
In the beginning, when all we think of is our hurt and anguish at their departure, we lose sight of how they filled our days with joy and laughter. When we are once again able to remember through our pain and tears how they loved to cuddle against us in the summer during unbearable heat or didn’t want to cuddle in the early morning chill, the pain intensifies. Our thoughts scream out, “when will my thoughts bring pleasure instead of this unbearable heartache?”
My brother and I spoke of Lucy as I held her picture in my hands. As I stared at her picture, he told me she loved to cuddle in the morning when she first woke up but when she went to bed in the evening, she wanted little to do with him. She wanted to find her own place in the bed and curl up to sleep. He smiled when he said he would “smack her on the ass and say ‘Goodnight Missess.'”
I handed his picture of Lucy back to him. Gingerly he took it from my hands, touching it as if it were almost sacred. His gaze was intense as he studied her picture as if he were seeing it for the first time. Behind his horn-rimmed glasses his eyes turned soft and filled with unshed tears as he gazed at her picture before relinquishing it from his hands. As he placed her picture on the table beside him her turned to me and gave me a forced smile. Without words, we both knew what each of us was thinking. To me, the pain was evident on his face, was my pain as evident?
My brother, like me, has lost a life that invaded his very being and soul – this life was a part of him. His love for Lucy was strong and real. His grief for her bringing him unexpectantly to his knees. From most of the world this grief will remain hidden because it is not human, it is a bond that exists only with man’s best friend.