Looking Back and Finding Joy: Happy 51st, Dear Brother

Today, November 29, is the 51st anniversary of my brother’s birth.  He left us too soon, in 2013, but as the years go by I find that I can focus more on the joys of his life and less on the tragedy and heartbreak of his death. It feels like finally catching your breath again after having run for a long, long way.

fullsizeoutput_1a2aTake a look at these pictures from his first birthday and celebrate his life with me, if you will. The photos come from the “Big Green Book,” a monster of a scrapbook that my parents started when they first married and continued for years afterward.  Dad made this clumsy 18′ x 24″ cache of memories from pegboard and cabinet hinges; he was then responsible for most of the photography. Mom painted the behemoth bright green, did the legwork to get the photos developed, and kept the scrapbook up to date, complete with captions. You can see Mom’s faint handwriting in the two pages memorializing Steve’s first birthday below.

I pulled a few of these priceless photos out to share them, honor Steve’s birthday and take another step in the healing process. I’m very excited because I don’t think my nieces (my brother’s daughters) have ever seen them.

The captions below the photos are my Mom’s original words from the scrapbook. Enjoy the joy on that beautiful baby face.

fullsizeoutput_1a25
“I’m a Peanut!” (referencing Charles Schulz’s Peanuts characters, now favorites of my nieces)

Version 2

Version 3
“Let me at it!”
Version 4
“Osmosis”

Can’t you just feel the happiness radiating in that tiny kitchen 50 years ago today? I can, and I’m grateful for the memory.

I’m grateful for so many things, really. Grateful to have had a brother to grow up with, play with, tease, teach and love. Grateful to have had parents who were always there, and who valued life’s little celebrations and small moments enough to capture them for posterity. Grateful that my Dad and my Aunt-Mom made me the keeper of family history so that I have access to these marvelous memory-artifacts. Grateful for the days gone by that can be savored and honored but never retrieved, and the days ahead filled with unknown joys and more small moments to celebrate.

Happy birthday, dear brother. You left us too soon, but in many ways, you are still with us, and always will be.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

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