You should be here...
A lot of life happened to me between the moment heaven stole our father then came once more for our mother. Enough for me to understand what I’m about to say to you, baby brother....
In a few days time, when you stare into your bride’s eyes and speak your vows, know that they’re right there. They’re in the wind curling around you, the sun resting in the summer sky, the sound of the waves crashing, and the sand at your feet. The vibration of love that is unconditional in the air ... that’s them, watching from the shores of heaven.
They’ve missed nothing.
If you happen to wonder how your day would go if life had taken a different turn, or two, I’d be happy to paint the scene for you.
Dad would be stoic and proud, trying not to mingle or speak more than he had to, for if he did, he'd show more emotion than he cared to display. On this day he’s grappling with the truth before him. You aren’t a little boy anymore. The days of following him step-for-step as he worked on cars, the yard, and wood crafting ... rest in memories now. The little boy who’d climb into his chair and tuck in tight next to him was now standing shoulder to shoulder at his side. Your hands are the same as his, strong and steady. Your voice resonates the same, low and even. The blue of your eyes and the coy smirk that ghosts across your expression … are all reflections of him within you. You’re a man grown and he doesn’t understand how it happened so fast.
When he does find a moment to speak to you, right before you’re ready to wait for your bride to walk toward you ... he’ll crack a joke; tease you about the most random thing he can think of. He wants to see you smile, he wants to take the nervous edge off that he knows you’re hiding. He wants you to know it’s okay to be anxious; the best things in life stir you for good reason. Loving a woman—building a life with her—is gonna be hard as hell and sweet as the rapture--worth every damn minute.
Mom’s approach to this day is far different. For days on end before now, she’s told you, verbatim, about her wedding, her sisters, mine ... and so on. She’s recounted your life from birth until now. During the bustle of preparation, you’ll hear her laugh from across the room as she uses her vibrant personality to connect with everyone she crosses. She won’t stay far for long. She wants to be close to you. She needs to proudly tell everyone that you’re her baby boy, in case they’ve somehow missed this point the thousand or so times she mentioned it before. Anything and everything you’ve ever done that was slightly humiliating will come up as casually as the state of the weather. When she looks up at you, you’ll see a glint of wonder in her eyes. She has no idea how she pulled off raising such a great kid. She’s thanking God with every other thought.
As you wait on your bride, she’s watching you with your father from the front row. She’s noticing once more how the pair of you are so much a like, but far different at once. She’s smiling at you. She’s praying for you. When she hears you say your vows, sees the love in your eyes, she’ll know you will be an amazing husband, a calm that stills the wills of life around you. She’ll dance with you, she might cry, but she’ll stop it with a laugh then surrender you to your bride and go in search of dad, coaxing him to dance with her. They’ll hold each other, glance around the room, and then smile.
Imagined or not, baby brother ... know they are there, and they love you so very much. They will be there on this day and every day you’ll think to reach out for them. We never lose the ones we love; they’re threaded within our soul and beaming through the marked moments of bliss that hides in both the ordinary and extraordinary.