Later today our family will make a pilgrimage to Huntington to visit the grave of my brother Matt. And my brother Ben. They are buried in Pilgrim's Rest Cemetery. We make a point to gather there every year on the anniversary of his death. It seems unbelievable that Matt was killed eight years ago on this day - a Sunday morning then. So much life has happened since, and it's happened without Matt. Or Ben.
Now that Jerm and I have kids, we think of Matt and Ben everytime one the six little Hallman's says or does something just like their uncles. Which always causes a big smile and usually a bigger laugh. And then we like to wonder who Matt and Ben would have married, what their kids would have been like...what Christmas' with everyone would have been like.
After our pilgrimage this afternoon we'll get together at our home for a feast and Wii games. And we'll tell stories about Matt and Ben, look at pictures, and watch their legacy live on in their nephews and nieces. For example, Eli rarely will look "normal" when it comes time to take a picture, just like Matt (it was very annoying then, and still annoying now!). Emma has Ben's big booming voice. Lydia and Levi have Matt's mischievious grin and stubborn will. Eva can sing countless songs, much like Ben did (he would usually serenade us with commercial jingles...). And watching Isaac and Levi play together is like watching Ben and Matt play together.
I remember one August when Matt and Ben took their old Halloween candy (years worth...) and had a little porch sale, making deals with the little kids in the neighborhood! Or when the two of them would race through the house with Zeener-dog, letting that disgusting little beast of a dog lick them and lay on them. Ugh! And I remember the van rides when we'd all get laughing so hard... good times, good times.