My Brother Died From An Overdose

When people ask me how many siblings I have, I have a hard time answering. If I explain that I did have 2 stepbrothers, 2 stepsisters, 3 halfsisters then I have foster sister but not really any now … its too much to explain & why I don’t anymore. If I do, I walk away feeling like I just vomited on the floor in front of them and now we are all walking around it trying hard to pretend it never happened. After I answer my soul screams out and I feel counterfeit for denying the existence of people so amazing.

My brother died yesterday.

Tonight I am writing this and crying. I don’t know how to say I used to be a sister. I don’t know how to make peace with something that seems so wrong. Losing Austin was never supposed to happen. Not this way.  Today I am trying hard to inhale deeply and find some measure of grace. It is okay to cry today. It is okay to cry today. It is okay to cry. Because he is gone.  I have deep sadness that resonates from my chest. I am angry. Three days ago the phone rang and I heard my stepdad say overdose, heroin, brain dead. In the thickness of shock, I guess I didn’t realize how much childhood pain I still have. Resentments.

I have experienced so much in my short life that sometimes my stories seem so unbelievable, even to me. My brothers, sisters & our past. Austin’s big blue eyes. His loud laugh. He was the co-keeper of our childhood. The person who was supposed to walk with us longer than anyone else in this life. The only other person who knew what it was like to grow up with our particular parents, in our particular home.

The future. How will we ensure that his essence won’t be lost? How each of are just figures in old photographs, a handful of stories?