I remember the day Ian was born. [His actual birthday, if you will.] After nine months of excitedly listening to my Mama’s belly with my toy stethoscope, and impatiently wondering when new baby would get here already, Stephen and I were taken to the hospital to meet our newly-minted little brother.
We arrived, and Ian “gave” each of us a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. I was instantly enamored, because this kid came with accessories. My love can be bought, apparently for $9.99 at the Disney store.
Of the four Peterson kids, two might be described as angelic, and the other two might be described as Ian and I. We were so startlingly similar that it was laughable. From his dry sense of humor and wit [two qualities in a person that I rank above compassion and integrity], to his overly-enthused love for theatre and music. When he was a kid, he attended every single play, musical, and choir concert that I performed in [and let’s get one thing straight right now: we called them legion for they were many], and when we got home he would inevitably ask me to “teach him”. Ash. That thing you did with your voice? How’d you do that? How’d that song go again? Show me the dance. And so we would crowd around the baby grand, or dance wildly across the kitchen floor as my eager understudy learned.
Ian and I loved singing together the most. It was perfectly normal to find us spending hours sitting at the piano, rotating who played and singing every song that popped into our heads. I miss that.
I miss Ian every single day. I miss him especially today, as a ten thousand memories dance across my mind and I long for heaven. I remember Ian sitting on my parent’s back porch blowing out candles a year ago today, before everything changed. Just as vividly, I remember a three year old sitting in his highchair with blue frosting smeared over every inch of his face.
A friend told me yesterday that she planned to wish Ian a happy birthday, because he was still alive and celebrating it, just with better music and better cake. Yes. Today, I am not sad for Ian. I am unspeakably sad for the people who love him and miss him daily. Minute-ly. [To his friends going karaokeing tonight in his honor: thank you.] And today, I have nothing profound to say. Nothing to make it better, nothing to ease the sting. I’m just a sister that misses her little brother. I’m a sister that spent last night looking at every single picture of her brother tagged on facebook and watching every recorded song that he sang. I’m a sister that will bake a very chocolate cake with 22 candles, and blow them out alone in my apartment. I’m a sister that will bake a cake every year on July 12th, because this missing my little brother will never, never get easier. And I am a sister that will choose not to remember him as the cancer kid with his face plastered on luminaries and jumbotrons. I do not remember Ian as the kid who died—I remember him as the kid who lived. Who, thanks to Jesus, still lives.
A lot of you never got to meet my brother, and you’ve never heard him sing. He wrote this. :)
Happy birthday, baby brother. I love you so much!