Lemon Poppy Seed

Today I have eaten two (2) lemon poppy seed muffins that I bought at Kroger last night.

One day a long time ago, my brother and I decided to take an early morning walk on the Manassass battlefields by our house. We had been there a million times, but we wanted to go again. When we woke up early in the morning, we realized we didn’t have much food at home to take with us. So we went to Giant at 6 am and we bought a box of four lemon poppy seed muffins We each ate one in the car on the way to the battlefields.

Once we were there we started our walk, and I don’t remember what we talked about. We both enjoyed finding and reading trail markers and trying to recreate the scenes in our heads. At times one of us would run across the trail or field to the next marker and yell it out so we could experience both sides of the battle at once. I think it was on this particular hike that we found a sturdy and knobbled stick that we named the Snake Stick. I don’t remember why we called it that. We carried the snake stick with us and waved it around, pretending that it attracted ghosts and wondering what those ghosts might tell us.

We had been to the battlefields many times, so we decided to move off of the beaten trails and wander through the thick grass of a hillside, down to a creek lined with trees. We talked about what the soldiers would have done here and how itchy and hot their cotton uniforms must have been. We crossed the creek and both got our shoes wet. The snake stick got wet and we decided to leave it behind.

Not for the first time, we were on the battlefields without a plan for getting back to our car. I remember squelching shoes and itchy grass. I remember following my brother, trusting that he knew the way. I remember thinking longingly of the car, with its water bottles and muffins we’d left behind nearly three hours before.

When we did reach the car, we ate the muffins and we drank our water. We were quiet. Something I always enjoyed with my brother was our shared love of stories. We’d talked out so many of them on our hike and the both of us knew that standing there we were surrounded by many, many more.

Today I ate lemon poppy seed muffins and I thought about my brother. He wasn’t supposed to eat anything with seeds because they hurt his stomach, but he ate those muffins anyway. He ate them because he liked them, and it didn’t matter that they would hurt later. Yet another thing he and I have in common.

Second

Yesterday, February 15, was the fifth anniversary of my dad’s death. He died from ALS, which he’d had for seven years. He donated his body to science and it was determined he was brain dead for several of those years. Several years during which we cared for him, kept his muscles limber, told him about our days, and wished for him to get better. How could we have known.

In a few short weeks it will be my brother’s birthday. March 22nd. My brother died of HLH, or complications surrounding it. I still don’t believe my brother needed to have died. Doctors told us so often and with such confidence that he would not. Now, March 22nd is a dead man’s birthday. What do you do with a dead man’s birthday?

I have decided to do something, so that I can dread the day a little less. Between yesterday and March 22nd, I am going to do something that makes me feel close to them. I am going to play outside, or read their favorite books, or talk to them about what they’ve missed. I am going to dedicate 36 days to them. 36 days that might otherwise pass me by. Yet another 36 days I cannot spend with them.

I still cannot think what it is I will do to honor them. Not exactly. I wanted to do something like Lent, and give up some vice for these 36 days, but my father and brother did not care for restrictions. They did not worry about the food they ate. So I don’t know what it is that I will do. For these 36 days maybe each day will hold something different. This, the Second, is my first act for these 36 days. I don’t know yet what I will do tomorrow.

First

My recently deceased brother had a wordpress blog. He also made videos, and he wrote stories and poems. There are little bits of him everywhere and I will always and forever wish that I had more. So as I discover little things he’s made, I’ve done my best to make something too, so that should I ever die (prophecy to be discussed at a later time) my family will have that much more to remember me by. Even if this is the only post I make, someday maybe it’ll be a little wave to some person who misses me after I’m gone. I’m not going to make any kind of statement about what I’m going to use this for, since it will inevitably change, and I don’t like cornering myself from the get-go. Maybe when I publish a book I’ll upgrade this site to be my “official” site. Or maybe when I’m a coach I’ll make it a bit more coach centered. Who the heck knows. Whatever I choose to put here, it’s going to always be coming from me. Authentic, organic thoughts from my own dumb head. Get excited. Or don’t. If you aren’t excited, this isn’t for you.