Today at 12:48 PM, my brother will have been dead for 5 years.
This particular day doesn’t feel any more special or worthy of note than any others, but here I am, making note of it. Probably more out of habit than anything else.
Five years on and I’ve realized it’s the small things that have left the largest impact on me since Phil’s passing. How people around me reacted at a low point has taught me a great deal about loving others.
Patti, the receptionist at work who heard me lose it on the phone when I got the news, who came over to me and rubbed my back with one hand back and forth slowly, gently as I cried at my desk. She cried with me as I packed my things to go be with my family.
Jeff, a good friend that was walking into the hospital as I pulled up to it, who simply sat with me in silence and waited patiently for me to say it was okay that he go home to his family.
Brandon, a dear friend that drove 4 hours to be there at the funeral and embraced me like a brother.
An uncle that, to this day, sends me “head check” texts on the anniversary of Phil’s death as well as on Phil’s birthday.
Seemingly endless amounts of people that showed up to the visitation and offered kind words and cooked meals for our family.
Almost daily messages in the weeks and months that followed of people talking about Phil and sharing funny stories.
Others reached out and offered sage advice on dealing with loss. One such friend even shared how he was able to grieve after he lost an infant to SIDS.
Loss, it seems, has the ability to expand love in this world as well as end it. I count myself blessed for having received an overflowing amount of it.
I share all of this now as a poor way of saying thanks to those that have lifted me up in low moments.
Having been shown such kindness and grace from family and friends, it further cements in my mind that it’s the small things that matter most in life.
A gentle hand. A warm smile. A strong embrace. Kind words. Being present.
These things matter.