My brother David would have been 42 years old today.
I'd like to say that I knew him well, but I was only 11 when he died. He was A Big Brother, one of three; he was nicer to me than P was, but not as nice as B was. I remember his laugh, and I remember wrestling with him a few times. I remember getting yelled at by him, because he wanted his books treated a certain way. He and I both enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons, although - truth be told - he was better at it than I ever was. I'm not very imaginative in that fashion.
I remember spending time with him and his girlfriend. They were nice to me most of the time, even though I thought that they made out a little too much. I was just too little, too young, too wrapped up in myself to really get to know him well.
He was my father's favorite. Why wouldn't he be? He was the most popular and had the most friends. He was also the only one of us that had a long-term girlfriend in high school. He loved taking things apart and putting them back together again; sometimes with left over pieces. He loved fantasy novels and was a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan; I probably get my love of those books from him, as he was very generous in lending copies to me.
When he died, he was a month shy of his 19th birthday. It's hard to believe that almost 25 years have passed since then! It ripped my family apart, and it took a long time before the fabric healed itself. I think we're stronger because of it, although it's not the family bonding method that I would truly recommend. Now, with a child who is fighting against a life-threatening illness, I have a much better understanding of what my parents went through.
We named The Boy after my brother in the Jewish tradition of naming babies for deceased relatives; we gave The Boy my grandfather's middle name for the same reason. We balanced out the loss of a young life with an old life to appease the superstitious. We'll see.
I miss David. I wish I knew him better, and I wish I had more stories to tell. Heck, I don't even know how many of my memories of him are accurate and aren't just fabrications of a young, grief-stricken imagination. He was my brother. I grew up with him, and I loved him.
Happy 42nd birthday, big brother. I think you'd have loved your nephew.