Take a walk with me...
I go to clean out my inbox every once in a while but there are emails that I cannot archive much less delete - emails from my brother Brendan. They remain in my inbox, the most recent one almost two years old.
I notice tags and stickers, graffiti, street art, on public property everywhere now, some ugly and poorly thought out, others well planned and well executed, real works of art. I know that the former are probably gang tags, and the latter most likely have nothing to do with turf. I know this because since Brendan died his friends, many of whom put art on the streets, have done what they can to educate me about the difference.
Sometimes in the morning I eat oatmeal. Brendan went through a phase when he was small where he would eat instant oatmeal for breakfast everyday, and after one St. Patrick's Day when Dad added green food dye to his bowl, I don't think he ever ate an oatmeal colored bowl again.
Brendan was born on the 20th day of a month. He died on the 14th day of a different month. Every month has a 20th and a 14th. Every so often, a Friday falls on the 13th day of a month. The last full day Brendan was alive was a Friday the 13th.
I spend a couple days a week standing behind a table at a farmers market and I get to see lots of people, lots of families walk by. There are some boys that have very blonde curly hair. That's what Brendan looked like when he was a child.
Sometimes in a conversation it is relevant for someone to bring up their siblings. Many other women have younger brothers. Brendan was my younger brother.
Most of us every day will deal with font and typeface. Most of us don't know the difference. I found out from his graphic design colleagues that people using those terms interchangeably was a huge pet peeve for Brendan. I also found out that he "didn't do bullet points" in presentations. I use bullet points. Since he died, I question whether I really need to.
Do not hesitate in conversation with me out of fear of reminding me of Brendan or that he died - I would rather you say something that could sound insensitive and have it in front of us than see your pause and the flicker of worry behind your eyes. I need no reminder; my brother, and his absence, are always present. Better you share in it with me than keep yourself at arms length from my honesty - it is much warmer here walking closer to me.