“Sun went down in honey and the moon came up in wine. You know stars were spinnin’ dizzy. Lord, the band kept us too busy we forgot about the time.”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

Every year I right a blog post on, about, or revolving around February 21st. I write about how much I miss my late older brother and how I so desperately want him to be here and enjoying life. But, the sad reality is he’s not here. He is very much dead. I say that so bluntly because I have his ashes on an altar of mine at my home. He truly is never coming back, even if I secretly will always hope he will be. That I will will soon wake up from this dream and all will go back to normal. I soon than realize, this is normal…..and he really is gone.

“There’s mosquitoes on the river. Fish are rising up like birds. It’s been hot for seven weeks now. Too hot to even speak now. Did you hear what I just heard?”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

It’s been six years since he left this world and transitioned to a different plane. But, thankfully he does come around and visit. I just wish I could hug him again. In this reality. But, I know I can not and I don’t think I can get over that nugget of knowledge anytime soon.

I still live in the house I grew up in, times and money are rough to come by….and a big move is coming soon, and everything reminds me of him. I want to figure out how to keep the house and land because its very sentimental and I like to keep everything that was apart of my brother’s 26 years of living close to my heart.

Yes, he was only 26 years old when he died. I always say he wanted to remain a Rockstar forever or just start singing, “I want to be forever young.” But, in reality being a struggling drug addict is deadly business and truly shows that addiction can effect everyone. Drugs don’t care what your economic status is, what your career choice is, or how wonderful of a family you come from. Once they take over the person you once knew vanishes and the drugs take over.

“Well the cool breeze came on Tuesday. And the corn’s a bumper crop. And the fields are full of dancin’. Full of singin’ and romancin’. The music never stopped.”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

The day he died, was something out of a movie. I was driving home, saw cops at my home, turned around, and called my mom. My mom said, ” You need to come home,” and I just knew. I knew he was gone and I new that this new life was about to unfold. There was not time to cry, it was just time for action. I had to grow up and deal with the fact my brother was gone. I had to figure out how to navigate two (three) grieving parents, his friends that just lost someone that would have given them the shirt off their back, and walking through my own grief. Which, the last one I am still working on doing, it’s a process after all.

Six years later and the grief is still there, the sadness is still there, and the thought of what could be is still there. Time doesn’t heal anything. It transforms to what is considered the new normal of feelings. I still am reminded everyday that he is gone, well in the physical sense…..around 9pm every night certain rooms in the home smell life Ralph Lauren Red and cigarettes. So, I don’t know if he is truly gone. But, one will never know.

What I do know is I am the luckiest human alive to have him as my older brother in life and I honor the time we had together in his death. My goal is to keep his memory alive and live life to the fullest, just as he did. And…. I will forever be Johan’s Little Sister and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sometimes the lights all shining on me. Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me. What a long strange trip it’s been.

The Grateful Dead, “Truckin”

Until we meet again bro, keep on keeping on. May your memory stay alive and may you be truly at peace. I will see you through the looking glass in the land of dreams, where time stands still and reality is a figment of our imagination. So, it’s never goodbye truly. It is, I will see you again soon.

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