It has been just over six years since I saw my big brothers face, heard his distinctive laugh and hugged him goodbye. Six long, unimaginable years and if I had known that he would be gone, I would’ve never let him go.
I play this event over in my mind, remembering distinctly all the drama and stress happening back then with work and school that I thought was significant at the time. You know, the stuff most Millennials think is terrible. Your classes are too hard and that guy you met at the bar didn’t message you back. I wish I had known that the Universe was about to rip the most important person out of my life, and that those other worries are so minuscule! With all the hectic things that were happening in my life (then and now), they do not mean a single thing when one of the most influential people in my life was going to be ripped away and gone forever.
I think about that last day in my mind a lot and on how I would have done it differently. I treated it as any other day. Yes, my brother was moving to another province temporarily, but I didn't have to worry about him. I was his annoying little sister, he was the invincible big brother and my protector. The last day with my big brother may have seemed uneventful or not out of the norm, but it was the little things he did/said that showed his existence and worth. Generous to the server, bought the kitchen staff a round of drinks, made fun of me at the movies, tipped his hat at the old ladies in the street…you know, a true gentleman.
He was the life of the party, everyone's best friend, closet Wizard book enthusiast and the best cook ever. He hated bullying and would make anyone feel comfortable and belong in any situation. He was just THAT guy you could have a beer and laugh with and could make anyone smile. The hopeless romantic just longed to meet the perfect woman to marry and start a family with and it breaks my heart he didn’t get to find his lobster. It makes me smile knowing he’s with me along my life’s journey and he’s probably making fun of me the whole time. No one will ever replace him but I do pray my future children have his laugh and sick dance moves.
All of this amazingness was taken away from me. Instead of constantly texting and calling to keep in touch, I let him go before he was gone forever. It’s when we get caught up in our stupid, selfish shit that we forget to embrace the feelings for those we love. This has taught me to treat myself with more respect and to cherish those around me. We are our worst critics but sometimes we just need to step back, breathe and realize worse things can happen to us. We need to get rid of everything that isn’t positive in our lives and focus on what makes us happy. I have my good days, extremely bad days and everything in between. I cry for no reason and purposely shut people out and that’s okay sometimes. Everyone has their way of dealing with loss and I believe being a chatterbox came in handy this go-around. You can close yourself off from civilization and watch Netflix to pass your life away OR you can face the reality that is your new life and you should embrace the good things that come your way. I am not religious, but I am spiritual and believe those we lose are with us until we join them.
This last day with my brother resonates with me so much because it solidified what to cherish going forward in my life. No matter what you have going on in life, do not lose sight of the people around you. Don't let the difficult things in life overshadow the fact that you have amazing people and many things to be grateful for. Make memories everyday, be positive, make amends and be HAPPY. Do what makes your soul happy, find your passions again on your own terms. It took me a long time to wrap my head around this and I'm definitely a work in progress. Enjoy the small moments and trust the universe that everything will work out. My last piece of advice would be to tell the people you care about, that you love them, and hug them tighter because you don't know when it will be the last time.
About Jeanine Armillotta
I was born and raised in beautiful Revelstoke BC, Canada and youngest of three - the only girl with two over-protective big brothers. Throughout the years I struggled with mental health and self love but I always had my brothers to turn to for help, especially my brother Jimmy. Unfortunately, he was tragically taken in 2010 and our family was forever broken. I know he wouldn’t have wanted me to dwell on losing him, so instead I finished my degree, pursued different careers, traveled, moved to different cities and met amazing people along the way. My goal is to help others who have experienced loss realize that there is no expiration date for grief and that there is good in every day you exist. I also believe it’s perfectly normal to cry for no reason and love your dog more than most humans. Life ain’t all sunshine and lollipops but I know that staying positive and pushing through the struggles will be worth it in the end.
Original post : https://littlesistersjourney.com/2015/02/27/80/