I Miss My Brother

I miss my brother.

When we were kids, he wanted to prank me on April Fools day. I think he saw some “clever ideas” during a commercial break on Nickelodeon. We don’t know exactly how it happened, but somewhere he got the idea to put bread on the toilet seat. He said he had something to show me, so I came into the bathroom and saw maybe 6-7 slices of bread lined on the toilet seat. I stood there for a second, confused. I looked at him with his thick glasses and huge smile beaming at me. He was SO proud of his joke. I looked back at the bread, then back at him. The whole thing just became so hilarious. Not the actual bread on the seat factor, it was realizing that HE thought it was the BEST prank of all time. He thought I would sit on that bread and not notice right away. He excitedly yelled “April Fools!” and it just never stopped being funny. Over the years it developed and we would come to each other’s houses, with our kids and pull bread related April Fools jokes.

I miss that.

I miss my baby brother who came home from the hospital on Christmas Day. Born at 10:17 in the morning. We had to wait until mom and Baby Josh were home from the hospital to open our Christmas presents. Dad let us open our stockings and I got purple “Gak!” which was, for some reason, the most exciting gift I had ever received. Until my baby brother came in the door. My life was changed. I had a new purpose. This kid was my whole world now.

I miss when he was a toddler and he would come sleep in my bed because his big sister was his safe place.

I miss talking to him on the phone for so long that we laugh when we see the time stamp and hang up just because we have lives to get back to.

I miss going Black Friday shopping with him. We would stand out in the cold November air for hours waiting for Menards to open just so we could laugh about how psychotic people were acting just to get $1 candles and fleece throws. We would swear that we weren’t coming next year…but we still did every year.

I miss seeing him interact with my kids. He never quite “got” them I don’t think, but he at least acted like he was trying. I understand that. I don’t “get” most people’s kids, but I would stand in front of a train to protect them.

I miss sitting next to him at functions with extended family while we sat back in our own little world pretending we were above them all. We weren’t. But pretending was sometimes easier than stepping outside our comfort zone to interact with basically complete strangers. Josh was better at this than I was though. He loved his cousins, aunts and uncles even though they led really different lives compared to ours. He would get up and make the rounds, talking to pretty much everyone there and giving out hugs. Then he would come back and plop down next to me with cookies or something he snagged from the kitchen while he was up.

I miss the way we would drive around in my car singing Shania Twain songs when I first got my drivers license. Blaring those tunes at the top of our lungs and feeling the breeze pouring in from the windows of my 86’ Mustang Cobra. Kids were allowed to sit right in the front seat then, no booster or anything was required. I can still see him there. Those times together felt so liberating. Just getting outside of the walls of our home where the chores never ended and people didn’t really want us there being loud kids. Here, we could be as loud as we wanted. I was 11 years older than him, and in these moments it felt like he was my own son. At a red light, I’d smile and pat his sandy blonde head and say “I love you buddy.” I. Miss. That.

I miss my brother.

In one moment it can all be taken away. One moment, one phone call.

My brother called me up and said he had some news that would be hard to hear. I remember being parked in the parking lot at my daughters school. Looking out over the soccer field. He tells me that things are going to be different now. He’s going to be a woman. There’s nothing we can say or do to change that. Crushed. How is this possible? Who has him brainwashed? Who has diluted his reasonable decision making brain sector? He says he needs us to accept this, and that nothing will change too much. He will look different and may change his name, but he’s still the same person. I can feel blood in my ears. Rushing. Racing. I can’t fully process what he even means… for days I tried to “wake up.” I was positive that this was one of those bad dreams, and to be honest, I still sometimes think that. Maybe I’m in a coma and my dreams are lasting on for years. Maybe I got hit with one of those Black Friday candles at Menards and I will find this was all a dream. But each day I realize a little more that THIS is how it is now… a family divided over gender dysmorphia. His 2 daughters never knowing their dad, but instead a self focused, female identifying, horomonally altered version of the daddy they once had.

The brother I once knew is only alive in my memories now. I can’t hug him or share my life with him anymore. I can’t even look at the new version of him because that’s the person who effectively took my brother away from me. The new person seems so pleased with him/herself. It makes me so angry. How are they so pleased with what they’ve done to us all. My heart is breaking.

I miss my brother and I want to SCREAM and puke and cry and stand in front of a train all at the same time. It’s not fair.

I miss my brother and nothing will bring him back and I’m not allowed to talk about missing my brother because then I’m “full of hate” or “unaccepting” or “transphobic.” I’m not. I just miss my brother and YOU can’t let me FEEL that.

I miss my brother and life won’t be the same. Ever again. And you can’t fix it.

I miss my baby brother who came home from the hospital on Christmas Day.

I miss my brother so bad my soul feels torn open.

I miss my brother and the pain is never going to stop. It won’t.

I miss my brother.