Today is the day six years ago that I got the worst phone call of my life. Dad called (I was on a first date..can you believe?) and told me to go where I could hear him (I was in a noisy bar/lounge) I went out into the frigid December night. He said "There's been an accident your brother is dead." I made him repeat it, somehow as if him having to say it again, would make it untrue. Time stood still.
My older brother by 3 years was not always pleasant. He had this not so endearing way of finding your soft spot and provoking. That was in his younger years. I worked so hard to feel like he loved me when we were growing up. Perhaps that's typical of older brother/younger sister relationships. But in our twenties it started to feel easier, more natural and that he actually liked me :) The next decade of our lives together was characterized by an abundance of love and appreciation. We eagerly looked to spend time together and enjoyed every moment of it. He traveled a lot and lived in faraway places...and always called, always ended the call with "I love you." I'm incredibly grateful for that.
Much to my dismay in about 2000 he fell in love with skydiving. He became an expert. I mean really. An instructor even. With over 8000 jumps and some injuries I always had a sense of dread about it and was super happy when he decided to go to law school and give up skydiving. My brother was incredibly smart with a sharp and perceptive wit. He excelled in law school and had another year to go. The jump that proved fatal involved a popular yearly group dive event. There was a collision. My brother pulled his reserve as he spiraled down but he was already too low, his parachute had deflated too much..the jumper who collided into him had a prosthetic leg..which flung off during the hit and landed in my brother's chute..complicating an already perilous decent.
I try to make this day.."just another day" as my little brother says. But it's just not my way. We dedicate a day of celebration to commemorate our birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It seems natural (and unavoidable) to me to focus on the life and loss of someone who was everything to me. Someone who I miss to a bitter fault sometimes, but always always with longing that he was still here with me.
The skydiving community has a saying: Blue Skies Black Death. This is my interpretation of the blue skies marred by a black death. My brother. And then I added the love. Because the final look needed to include how very very loved and missed he is.
Blue skies. The very gorgeous NOPI Stand by your Manny from the new Modern Family collection. More swatches of this coming soon.
Thanks for reading everyone. Obviously a very personal post today. Going to go clean and have my family over to tell stories and hug and laugh together about my brother Cliff <3
My brother and I, the last time I saw him. <3
*Some products provided for review.