Well…it’s been a full year now. One year ago, my beloved younger brother Steven died. Tomorrow is the year anniversary of when I found out. I could never forget that call at 8:30 in the morning. After I hung up with my father, I sobbed so loudly that Caitlin heard me upstairs in her sleep and came down.
I still remember how I felt, the shock and disbelief. The utter sadness that swept over my soul. Telling my mother was one of the most awful things. My heart broke into another million pieces. I don’t think it’s possible to even find all of them again. Even now, a year later.
A flurry of calls were made back and forth between various family members, and plans were made, lists written, packing done. We left on the 6th and were in Massachusetts by the 7th, staying at a hotel. The next few days were spent visiting with my sister Susan and her family, and my mom, as well as Angela, Steven’s first wife. They had a friendship for years after they divorced, until he died.
We held the service for Steven on February 11th, 2014. I couldn’t go see him in his casket. From what I heard, he didn’t look good, and I didn’t want that image in my mind. I wanted to always picture him the way I remember him. I sat with my mom because she also didn’t want to go up to him.
The service was nice, and I believe Steven would have loved it and approved. One of my nephews spoke, as did my other sister and Angela. My sister Susan arranged for our childhood neighbor to sing Carole King’s Home Again. I read two poems that I had written. We were not only saying goodbye to him, but celebrating his life, too.
Afterwards we had refreshments in the basement kitchen of the church, looking at the many photos we had of Steven, talking to friends and family, renewing severed ties, strengthening existing ones.
Phil, the kids, and I left that night, after spending the rest of the day with my dad and his wife. We drove straight through again, arriving home on Wednesday, the 12th, and a snowstorm. By the next day we had 19 inches of snow. Yes, in Virginia!
It’s been a year now. Looking back, I remember so many times when I thought I could not bear the burden of grief, the sorrow of Steven being gone. Sometimes it felt like it couldn’t be real, that he couldn’t be dead…and the sickening reality would hit me that yes, Steven died, and he’s not coming back. I will never hear his voice, his laugh, or see his loving face again.
I’m crying yet again, as I write this, because…I love him. I love him and I miss him, and I wish he hadn’t died. I just miss him so much, it hurts.
Before I give myself a headache from these tears, I want to share one of the poems I wrote and read at Steven’s service. I wish everyone could have known my brother. Love you forever, Steven Erik Amoling.
I’ll never see your smiling face
Or hear you on the phone;
You struggled hard
While you were here,
And now we’re left alone.
Though my heart breaks,
And tears do flow,
My grief so hard to bear…
I’ll choose to see you here with me,
An answer to my prayer.
I’ll see you in a kitten’s eyes,
I’ll see you in a smile;
I’ll see you in your daughter’s face,
I‘ll see you all the while.
I’ll see you in some Autumn trees,
I’ll see you in the spring;
I’ll see you when I read a book,
And especially when I sing.
I’ll see you when I hear a laugh,
And when I see your friends;
I’ll see you in your favorite foods,
And in letters you have penned.
I’ll see you in the things you loved,
In the people you loved too;
I’ll see you, Steven, everywhere
where honest love shines through.