After Twenty-Five Years

March 1st, 2023

February 21st was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of my brother, Marc. He was killed in a car wreck. Marc was twenty-eight years old at the time. He left behind a young widow and two little girls. His fatal accident was a total shock to everyone in our family. The effects of his death still echo in our lives.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to recall much about my brother. As time has gone on, my memories have slowly slipped away. Maybe that’s blessing in disguise, because it’s hard to grieve for someone you don’t remember. I don’t know. It just is.

I can remember Marc’s voice. It was distinctive. I can remember his laugh. It is strange, but when I think about a time when we were together, his face is not visible to me. I can conjure up an image of his face, but it is always something I remember from a photograph of him. I can’t seem to find a memory of his own living face. It’s like I can recollect his voice, but it’s a disembodied voice. Marc himself in the shadows somewhere, and I can’t find him.

I remember the last time I saw Marc alive. I had driven down to where he lived in Texas to drop off a Nissan Sentra that I had sold to him. He worked at Texas A&M, dispatching buses. He went into work very early. On the morning when I was going to fly back home, he woke me up. It was dark in the room. I think I had been sleeping on his couch. I reached down to where I was lying and shook my hand. I remember the feel of his firm grip. He said goodbye to me. There was a smile in his voice. I sleepily mumbled reply to him. He let go of my hand, walked out the front door, and he was gone.

The next time I saw Marc was when he was lying in a casket at the funeral home with a rosary clutched in his hands. At the end of the viewing, people walked up to the casket to say their final farewells. I stooped over his body and kissed his forehead. I have never felt anything so cold as when my lips touched his skin. Then I knew for certain that he was gone. Marc wasn’t really in that coffin. That body was just a shell he had discarded.

When will I see his face again?

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