The Dark of the Night
In the dark of the night, my brother took his life. In the dark of the night, he drew his last breath and I drew my first in a life without him. In the dark of the night, I woke up to the call that shattered me. That would make every call from that day forth reason for my heart to tremble. The dark of the night: when the universe weaves its biggest magic.
It was the light of the day. You couldn’t have found more different, yet more compatible siblings. Like halves of our morning English muffins, we created a beautiful whole. Even our names felt compatible: Scott and Laura, always in that order. In our whole, the world made sense, felt safe, remained predictable.
All too soon the dark of the night came for Scott, and he cast the rest of us in shadow. Not night, no. We still lived in the light of the day, a place now separated from him, but eternal day without light. The shadow permeated my being, my body. Horrible images swarmed in vivid nightmares. What was this world of just Laura? Of only Laura, in that order? This, my friends, was my grief: a life that suddenly didn’t feel whole.
Have you seen the way in which a rising sun penetrates low hanging clouds, pouring warm gold onto the world? This is where I am now, almost five years later. Light is coming back, in the most stunning, breathtaking way possible.
My shattered heart hates it. I don’t want radiance and beauty. I want Scott. I want my half back, I want to be two names, in that order; I want to breathe in a world where he breathes. But my other heart, the greater heart that cannot be shattered, knows this is right, as it should be, returning to light.
My world with Scott — the safety, predictability — was an illusion. I didn’t understand the sun must set on us all, that sometimes its setting doesn’t make sense or listen to our pleas. From grief, I have learned much. Loss has propelled me into a more fulfilled life than I could have imagined, and it came with a price.
But it’s not a price lost to me, or the world. Scott is again standing for more, has been brought back into the light of the day, if just for a little while, in the form of a Kickstarter campaign (pretty sure he finds that delightful). Learning to befriend the permeating shadow is a gift. Because the shadow always returns, even in the warm glow of the rising sun, even when we’re in the light of the day.
This is our play: day and night, light and dark, hopelessness and faith. And this is my promise: to embrace all, to cherish my breath, for it is the only breath I’ve been promised my entire life. I might as well use it to do good, to honor those who no longer breathe, to make something wonderful for those whose breath is yet to come. I breathe you, and you breathe me, and here we are, in the splendid glow of the light of the day. This is how I feel, the only child, who is also an eternal sister.