To my nephew

11 Aug

As I watch you hurl rocks into a river or play t-ball, it stops my breath. The turn of your foot, the cock of your arm, the strength and power and decisiveness with which you thrw and run and swing the bat is like stepping back in time 17 years and laying eyes on my brother. You look exactly like him. I can pretend I’m seeing him again. For an instant I let myself believe that I am watching him move and breathe and live.

It takes only a moment for the illusion to fade and for the pain and longing to rush back with an intensity that still shocks me, five years later. It is unbearable knowing that you will never stare into his face and see your eyes mirrored back to you, never stand side by side and throw rocks or baseballs and realize that your grace and agility come from him.

Your hair is blonde and your smile is your mom’s. You are more cautious than he was, stopping to think of the danger before you plow ahead. But your eyes are his deep, dark brown. Your skinny body with defined muscles is just as wiry as his was. You love animals and you coo over babies and you are kind to everyone you meet.  

You are a glimpse through a window we thought was slammed shut five years ago. You allow us, for a moment, to catch a glimpse of him, to see more of him than can be captured in a photograph or revisited in our memories. I look at you and I wonder how you can be so much like him, when you have no memories of him to call your own.

I hope that our memories are enough for you. I hope that through our eyes, you can see that you are your daddy’s boy.


5 Responses to “To my nephew”

  1. Life of a Doctor's Wife August 11, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Love your writing. Wish it wasn’t the result of such pain. xxoo

  2. Jenn August 11, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    This post was both absolutely beautiful and incredibly heartbreaking.

    I am so thankful that your nephew has you (and others in your family, I am sure) to talk to him about his father, and to tell him things like this. Speaking as someone who lost her father at a young age, that is priceless. No one ever talked to me about my dad, they were too afraid to upset me (or my mother, which is probably more likely) and that really hurt. I wish I’d had people around to remind me, to tell me in what ways we were alike and in what ways we were different, to tell me stories about him.

  3. nwgirl August 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    What a beautiful post! It almost made me cry even though I don’t know you or your family.

  4. natalie August 16, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. Time heals in some ways, but the grief and missing are always there. Thinking of you.

  5. Heather August 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    … and cue the tears. Beautiful post, dear friend. Your nephew is one lucky dude to have such a cool family to call his own. {{hugs}}

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