May 8, 2007

The Last Time I Saw My Brother Alive

The last time I saw my brother alive, he was with his family, and they were packing up their SUV to return to Texas after a trip to Arizona that was much too short. It was also much too fun, I can smile and say.

I wanted to take a photograph with him, just Andy and me. But I didn't. That would seem morbid, I thought, and Andy was never one for big dramatic gestures or protracted goodbyes.

When I was out by the SUV, hugging the kids, hugging Katie, my brother sort of tapped me on the shoulder, and I think that he wanted to hug me, too. I didn't think that I could handle that, as my cheeks were already wet with tears, and I knew how much it upset Andy to see his sisters cry. So I just sort of grabbed his fingers, which were resting on my shoulder, and squeezed them.

Why didn't I hug him? Why didn't I take that photo with him? I didn't want to seem morbid, that's why. I didn't want it to seem all dramatic: here's a hug and a photo to remember you by, in case you don't come back.

Except that he is never coming back, unless you count his casket. Why didn't I take that photo? Why didn't I hug my brother? It turns out that it would have been the prudent things to do. He's never coming back. He's dead. And I would give anything, anything at all in the world, to be able to hug my baby brother right now, to take his photograph.


Copyright 2007, Laura Linger


  1. Anonymous08 May, 2007

    oh my God. I don't know you, but I am just sobbing for you right now. I am a sister and a mother and just human. When you touched his fingers, you knew then, you just knew... I want to hug my brother now too.
    Love and peace to you.