How do you start the the year right when you are carrying within you a heaviest heart?
When for the first time in a long long while, I am relearning the true meaning of sadness.
When thoughts that occupy my mind have been the number of times I had failed my baby brother and the fact I wasn’t able to save him nor protect him. How I wish I had spent more time with him and that I had tried to be more understanding during our trying periods as siblings.
What a year that begins with a blow to my soul I might never recover from. The world seems to have turned colder, emptier, darker, smaller. I die every minute it dawns on me that I will never see nor hear my brother Clifford again. That another loved one has been forever severed from me.
My brother who was constantly full of life, of hopes, of never-ending jokes. Our animated face-to-face table discussions, our no-holds-barred conversations, our outpouring of confidences, his hysterical humor — were all legendary.
Clifford fought for his life — he had wanted to stay longer. The Sinovac jab, however, accelerated his illness and things went downhill rapidly. Gone at fifty-four years of age. Too young to perish.
I go for a walk these nights and think, how will I ever recover? His physical sufferings too traumatic to recall. The touching moments during his last days that I witnessed — as a father to his daughter, as a husband to his wife. The unforgettable New year’s eve when I entered his bedroom and found him talking to himself — I greeted him Happy New Year and he greeted me back. Once again, he was the baby brother I had loved so much and protected when we were kids. I told him I loved him and he said he loved me too. It was one of the happiest moments of my life… because that was the first and last time we would express our love for each other.
Clifford’s six-year-old daughter will grow up and be carving her own life while tugging a few, hazy, and faded recollections of her loving dad. His young common-law wife will no doubt remarry soon. He devoted the last seven years of his precious life to them. But soon enough they will both inevitably forget him. And me? I have the remaining years of my life to remember Clifford by. All the laughter, the joy, the conflicts, the pain… For so long, my brother had occupied a huge portion of my existence. So I’ll be left with only my grief, my enduring memories, and my devotion for my younger brother that would last till the end of my days. There’s nothing left. Only my sorrow that will roll on and on until my very last breath.