Friday, August 23, 2013

Hiss! Roar!

My brother Ben used to say stuff like that all time.

You ask him a question, he'd reply, "Hiss! Roar!" You ask him to pass the bowl of veggies at the dinner table, he'd hand it to you accompanied with a "Hiss! Roar!"

Why did he say that kind of stuff? Who knows. That's what made it funny.

Him and Matt always came up with bizarre but catchy and cool phrases to throw around as substitutes for normal answers. The dinner table was a sacred time for our family, but it became a comedy club once we got older. Ben would sing most of his way through supper, serenading us with the most obnoxious commercial jingles. He had a good voice too, which helped the tune stick in my head long after we had cleared the dinner plates. When we complained, he just smirked and sang a different one. Now I had two annoying melodies in my head.

Personally, I would never had thought of the odd phrases generated by Ben and Matt. It would never have occurred to me to memorize lame commercial jingles and then sing them loudly and often when people gathered in the house. There's plenty of things that Matt and Ben did that would have never crossed my mind to do.

But now I do. Pretty much only with my kids. It's a way, I guess, for me to remember Ben and carry him around in my heart. It's one of the ways I'm not the same, nineteen years later. I think I'm done being sad. I don't miss him anymore, not really, since it's been so long. I still sometimes wonder how life would be different with him here. We'd all be a lot more jolly, that's for sure!

I've come to realize that I've been carrying around Ben in me all these years. I don't have to try to remember him, I just do. And he's influenced me, so that I do things he would do. That's why I don't miss him as much, because he feels more present, not less.

Being angry about his death is what made him feel distant. He wasn't an angry kid. Not when he was going blind. Not when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not when he had the surgery. Not when his life was radically altered that summer. He accepted it. We didn't. But now I guess I finally am. Being a slow learner can be painful.

Be that as it may, I'm happy Ben was, is, and will be part of our family. Today is his death-day. It'll be a good day to smile. And smirk. "Hiss! Roar!"

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