1.31.2009

Remembering...

I had a great childhood... I really did. It was packed with adventure and intrigue... and I am sure there were days that my mother truly wondering if I was going to survive, or rather, if she was going to survive to see me become an adult.

I was a scrappy little kid who my mother would tell me that I smelled "like the great outdoors" and I thought that was a compliment.

You all know that I have an older sister (who is so much better than me that I am thankful everyday that I have her on my side) and a younger sister (who is also better than me, but sometimes I convince her to visit the bad side with me and we have to go to confession after our time together) but what you may not know is that I also have an older brother.

His name was Sean and he passed away when we were kids. He was great and not a day goes by that I do not think of him or wish that he was here, telling me I am being inappropriate or telling me that my hair looks stupid this way.

I have missed having an older brother to watch out for me, to tell me not to do something and when I did do something, to be there to clean it up and protect me.

Don't get me wrong-I know for a fact that my brother is watching out for me. How else would you explain the mere fact that I am still here and not in jail, or worse, at the top of that water tower that my college friends all wanted to climb after a night of partying.
.
Friend A: "Hey-look at the water tower-when did they put that up?"
Friend B: "That has always been there... I wonder what they use it for."
Me: "I bet you can go swimming in there."
Friend A: "Hey look! There is a ladder up to the top."
Friend B (running toward the tower): "I bet you can see the boys college across town from up there!"
Friend A (running past friend B): "I wonder if I will be able to see that jerk Ned Smiley."
Friend B: "Why would you want to see him?"
Friend A: "No reason" (sidenote... friend A and Ned are now married)
Me: "Last one up is a skunked beer!"

This was all fine and great until we got to the part where the ladder starts to go outward because we all know what a water tower is shaped like and there is a point in which you have to actually climb up and out to get over the hump at the top. Now, I could have continued and eventually fallen to my death, but my brother was surely in Heaven looking down at me saying "What is wrong with you? Have you lost your mind? Get down idiot!"

And we did get down... but not without writing in pen "June wuz here" for all to see... because ball point pen can be seen for miles right? At least that is what a drunk would think.

Anyway... I eventually met and fell in love with a boy from my hometown, a boy that was actually in my brother's kindergarten class so how cool is it that Carl knew him? So cool. So a few years ago it was time for Carl's High School reunion.

He went to a different high school than me, so I didn't think I would know anyone there (and because he is 4 years older than me so why would I know such old people?) But the first night of the reunion weekend they had a "mixer" at a favorite hometown eating establishment (read:bar) and I was sitting listening to Carl and his twin brother talk to people about the good ol' days, the days when Carl was a drummer in a rock band and had long hair that he used to perm and wore spandex pants and tied bandannas around this wrists and ankles (this is all before my time... he had cleaned up his act before we met-but he is still a rock star at heart).

I was scanning the room when I saw someone that looked very familiar but I could not place him. I started to walk toward him because I was sure I knew him and I just needed to focus in order for my brain to remember. By the time I got to him I was pretty sure I knew exactly who he was.

It was Tony Tazarial, the little boy that was my brother's best friend and lived across the street from us when we were little. They moved away shortly after Sean passed away and I had never again see him-I was probably 4 the last time I saw him and he was 8-but I knew without a doubt that this was him.

Now, this next part of the story is my favorite story of all time. It is the story that I think back to and smile. It is the story that my mom likes me to retell to her, and it is the story that makes me know that my brother is close and that no one has forgotten who he was...

Tony and I looked at each other and I smiled. "Are you Tony Tazarial?"
He looked at me and nodded "Yeah... you are Sean's little sister right?"

Those were the best words that anyone could have ever uttered to me and I beamed and nodded. That is exactly who I am...

He went on to ask me how my parents were doing and we talked about what he had been doing and his parents and eventually ended the conversation with him saying "Say hello to your mom and dad for me." and walked away.

I realized that I am not the only one that carries my brother with me-my siblings and my parents are not the only ones that remember him. He touched other people-good people, who remember.

And that is just awesome.

28 comments:

TRO said...

Wonderful story, Sean's little sister.

Curious Mind said...

What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

Jean said...

I lost a son 2 years ago and pray everyday that people will remember his short, but powerful, life. Thanks for sharing.

Jean said...

I lost a son 2 years ago and pray everyday that people will remember his short, but powerful, life. Thanks for sharing.

scmom (Barbara) said...

Such a nice memory. And I love that your mom asks you to tell it to her.

Cass said...

I like that story. So sweet. You gave me warm fuzzies, Sean's little sister.

Mau said...

That was a beautiful story. Made me cry.

La Ella said...

Thanks for telling us a story worth telling over and over again.

june cleaver said...

Jean-please know that I understand and I am sorry for your loss.

God Bless you and yours~

June

lolaberly said...

love this story.

momto5minnies said...

I love your sweet tribute to your brother. I'm sorry he is not with you on this earth. Surely he is smiling down on you.

*Hey, I too have an older brother and am the "middle" (although good) sister.

blue_eyed_mom said...

Your story made me laugh and it made me cry. I think it was the perfect mix of rembering the past. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

Stupid Fat Hobbit said...

Once again, we have a meeting point. I lost an older brother when I was 11. It is a very strange feeling to have happen. He was the 'bad' child and I still pray for him almost every time I pray. (yes, even 32 years later). Thanks for sharing this moment, I always find it amazing how such little encounters can change the course of your whole life.

Amy said...

Your story was so very sweet. Makes me want to hug my own older brother. Maybe I will. Thanks.

Denn Mom said...

My husband lost a younger brother 17 years ago. Not having been through such an ordeal I will never know what it's like to lose a sibling. But I've never thought of him as "Jerry's big brother," though; now I will. Thanks for sharing.

angie a in mo said...

Two weeks from today will be the
15th anniversary of my little brother's death (he was 16, and my only sibling). When people ask about my family I still say I have a little brother. After all, we're only separated temporarily!

southernjoy said...

I think this was beautiful...

Anonymous said...

I lost my bro 10 years ago. I still miss him... We were close growing up. When I go through hard times I think of him and what we'd talk about if he was here...I know he's watching over me.

I was laughing as I was reading you say "I smelled like the great outdoors"...and remembering how much I liked that smell... My big sister used to tell me I smelled like "outside". I remember the day I realized it wasn't a compliment ... but I liked that I smelled like sunshine and grass, like my brother. How many girls admit to liking that? haha
It is good when people remember, huh? I'm glad you had that moment.

Kelly said...

Thank you for sharing this. Very touching.

warren said...

That is just awesome...a good tribute

Cousin Steve said...

That is an awesome story.

random moments said...

Hi Sean's little sister. You just gave me chills, put a smile on my face and made me want to call my brother. (hugs)

Was sent to your blog by another bloggy friend. Needed a new good read. Looking forward to reading more!

Mike said...

Great, great story. I am sure Sean is happy that he's your big brother. A year and a half ago I was at Ft Knox, KY and a Colonel who I vaguely recognized came up to me and said, "you're Patty's big brother, aren't you?" I had not seen this guy since 1973. 35 years pass and I'm still the big brother. It's nice to be someone's big brother/little sister. I know you must miss him. So do many other people whose lives Sean touched.

jess said...

I read this post shortly after you wrote it and I've thought about it a lot over the weekend. It brings tears to my eyes every time. I'm so glad you had that experience and you now have this beautiful memory.

Jud said...

June, wow. You writing is always entertaining, but that was a powerful story.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I stumbled on this blog! I lost my dad almost a year ago today. You will always be Sean's sister and I will always be my father's daughter, both in heaven and on earth. Thank you for reminding me of this.

Anonymous said...

June, That was an awesome story. I have never heard that story before and so glad you could share it. I laughed and cried as I read your story. As you know I knew of your Sean. What a great kid. I guess we are so wrapped up in our own loss that we don't know of others. I had the greatest brother that watched over us three girls.----------------- Excuse me, I just had a good cry. I just can't tell you what a big brother means to an oldest girl. (me) I know that we are temporaily apart but I sure do miss him. Chut and Harold used to visit and tear into me (just for a reaction) and as I remember I could give it right back. Made Chut laugh.
Thanks again for sharing.
Love,
Aunt Judi

Anonymous said...

When I think of Sean Michael I remember your mother telling me about the time, when he was just a little guy, how he liked to get up early in the morning and get into mischief. Well this particular morning he got in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, got out the Comet cleanser and proceeded to shake out the cleanser on a pair of shoes that were sitting on the floor by the door. I can still visualize him squatting there shaking that cleanser on those shoes...having a great time.
After Sean died we looked back on those moments and understood he was just trying to fit all that mischief in...and we just smiled.
I still remember his soft, gentle voice, and his smile.
Love,
Aunt Barbara