We often wonder how the death of child affects his siblings. Or, at least, bereaved parents often wonder.
Are they okay? What do they think? Do they remember him? Does it bother them?
Melanie and I are Bible study together. I met her and her mom at church. They are both full of joy! Laughter. And life. But some days they hurt.
Melanie’s little brother died of cancer. He was two.
Here is what she wrote today. She gave me permission to share it.
“32 years ago was the worst day for our family. My baby brother Matthew passed away from leukemia.
“I hate cancer. I hate today, I hate to think about it. I hate that I don’t remember his personality. I don’t remember little things like the stuff that I got to see my kids do in their first two years of life. I don’t remember playing with him. I don’t remember his voice. I hate that the only thing I remember about him are terrible events. I remember his cry. I remember how it made me feel. I remember being sad, sad like nothing else I have ever experienced. I remember missing him and my parents when he left town to get treatment. I remember visiting him in the hospital.
“I remember this day that I have hated most of my life. I remember the priest coming to our house. I remember seeing him carrying Matthew from my parents’ bedroom in a dark orange blanket. I remember being terrified of that blanket for a long time. I remember the tears. I remember sitting on my parents bed, on their greyish blue bedspread while the adults gathered in the living room. I remember crying myself to sleep on their bed. I remember thinking how angry my big brother looked. I remember wishing it was not happening. I remember the tremendous sadness of everyone I knew and many I didn’t know. I was five years old. I hate this day. I love my brother.”
I love Melanie. And her mom Aletha. Today I cried for them.