Unfinished business

Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of my brother Tyler’s death. It’s strange that four years isn’t any harder to type than four weeks. It’s been long enough that I didn’t want to say or write the same things I’ve written on other anniversaries or other random moments, but you also can’t NOT notice the date. And just a week ago we dedicated a music therapy space in his memory. So I’ll approach this this way:

People say ghosts stick around because they have “unfinished business.” Recently I was thinking about what a bunch of crap that is. Everybody has unfinished business in life. Some probably have more than others, but nobody does everything they ever hoped to do. Or to put it the other way- once you’re dead, your business is finished.

Our bond with people who have died is another matter. The stories are really about us figuring out how to let go and keep moving while keeping them with us. Finishing some of their business and making a tribute helps. When you know you can’t expect more than that, you make your peace with it.

Almost eight years after Tyler’s chordoma diagnosis, four years since he’s been gone, I’ve gotten better and in the process gradually understood how much I was hurting. And that pain will always be with me, but I’m also far happier than I have been. And I think that’s a good tribute, too. If Tyler knew anything, he knew fun and good living.

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