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Dear Baby Brother,

Today marks another trip around the sun since the news of your diagnosis came. News which would forever tear my life into a "before" and "after."

I watched the stars fall out of my sky, and I forgot how to breathe.

In the following chaotic flurry of merry-go-round days, what held my shattered heart together was each moment spent with you, counted out in priceless grains of diamond dust. Treasures that would only grow more valuable in their rapidly growing rarity.

I held on to them, even as they slipped and spilled through my fingers. And I held on to you, as you laughed and loved through your days, even as your body was so swiftly betraying you.

Those final grains would fall from our grasp before the year's hourglass was done. And I would learn that there is no sound more deafening than the silence of a final heartbeat.

Today marks so much more than a memory. Today is a reminder of the beginning of our gathering memories and precious moments of love that will forever be with me. They have seeped into every part of who I am, and my heart and my soul will always be overwhelmed with you.

There isn't a place anymore where you stop and I start, because I carry your love in every fiber of my being.

Your absence casts a very long shadow, but it is only because the light of you shines so very, very bright.

I'm slowly hanging my stars back up, and learning to breathe again.

Dusty, I miss you, and love you, and hold you in every moment, every heartbeat, and every breath.

by Whisper James

September 7, 2017

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