Today is the 9th of the month. Since October, the 9th has become the anniversary of the day my brother left this earth. This was the day he last spoke, thought, or felt. This is the day that David last lived.
Every month since October, the 9th has been a difficult day. Being re-acquainted with the events which happened just one month before, two months before, and now three months before is difficult. These are frequent milestones which painfully remind us that time cannot be re-wound, sometimes there isn't a second chance.
This month, the 9th has a different feeling to it. This feeling is hard to communicate but it shows progress.
This month, I feel stronger and I feel proud.
I feel proud because I am surviving. All of those who loved David, we are surviving. We have felt pain, sadness and utter despair. We have pleaded with ourselves, God, and even David, yet the pain persists. I feel stronger because I am living this sorrow, yet I am persevering.
The most difficult moments allow a view into David's feelings that day, October 9th. The pain felt from David's passing has allowed me to understand his feelings more than any words he could speak. Through this understanding, I feel closer to him. Not in the way that we used to be close, but in a different, more intimate way.
This January 9th, I'm thankful that while I experience this pain, I am also able to see the light. There are still many moments where I feel that darkness, but I am able to open my eyes wider, so that the light may enter in.
My mom sees David's light in in the sky: the beautiful rise and set of the sun. David also appreciated the beauty of the sky. This summer he posted photos of two different Iowan sunsets, one of the captions read, "Iowa has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the summer."
This holiday break, I too was awestruck with the sky's beauty. The winter sunset captured below illuminated the sky, casting beautiful hues above David's place of eternal rest.
No matter where these beautiful winter sunsets are coming from: whether it is David painting the sky for us, God showing his beauty and promise for the world, or even if it is just David opening our eyes a little wider to appreciate this light, this is something I am thankful for.
This January 9th, I am grateful that we are still here. I am thankful for every person who has offered support, understanding, and love. I am thankful most of all for my immediate family. I feel blessed to have become more closely united to them through this tragedy. After three months, I feel like I can, and we will, endure.
The fact that the sun rises and sets, the same way it always has, is comforting.
The fact that it does so so beautifully, fosters hope.
The worst days will end, and with each morning comes a new opportunity to start fresh. Each new day is a gift given to us to do what we choose. We are able to appreciate nature's beauty, embrace opportunities, and love one another. Every day is one to cherish, in an effort to honor and remember David.
Some days memories of David draw tears, other days they make me laugh. Always, they make my heart flutter with the vulnerability of loving someone so much.
This 9th of January, I know that I can do it. I know that we can survive. I hold David in my heart especially close this day, and as it flutters in his memory, I imagine his smile and his joy-filled soul.
With anticipation, I imagine our reunion.