“When Sasha is here, maybe he and Brad can fly to visit you in Missouri!”  I remember having this conversation many times with my parents.  Since I have lived away from Ohio for a few years now, we were always thinking of a way for my younger brother to come visit me.  We were always a little hesitant about putting him on a plane by himself… but then we realized when Sasha was home, maybe it would be ok to send the two of them together!  It would be so great to have the 2 of them to visit me together, a fun little Jenelle & the brothers trip.

But now that Sasha is not coming home, those plans have changed.  Instead of the Jenelle & the brothers trip, it would now be Jenelle & the brother… singular.  Thinking of what could have been made me sad, but it was still just as special to have time with just my brother and I. It finally came together and he is here for his birthday this weekend!

It was so great to see him again and spend some time with him.  He is the funniest and smartest guy ever!  We planned lots of fun things for the weekend.  But I also didn’t want to be going all the time, so I asked him to bring a few movies with him so we could have some chill tv time. 

After I got him and my aunt at the airport, we settled in my apartment and I asked him to show me what movies he brought.  He was kind of unenthusiastic when he showed me the 3 DVDs he packed.  Instead, he asked me if I had the “Shasha DVD” because he wanted to see it.  This was a DVD I made of videos from the Christmas that we hosted Sasha. 

I was kind of surprised that he even remembered the disc, let alone wanted to watch it!  It had been a while since we talked about Sasha, but he must have been on Brad’s mind!

When we watched this video at the very end, Brad said it left him with tears in his eyes.

We spent all night watching the home videos we had taken and reminisced about our memories of that Christmas. We talked about how much we missed him.  We talked about how we wished he was here with us like he should have been…

SiblingsAs we were talking, we looked over and saw a newly framed photo of Sasha that I have yet to find a place for.  It was just sitting on my couch waiting to be hung on a wall (and Brad occasionally talked to it as if he was talking to Sasha!) We decided to take pictures with it, showing that we were thinking of Sasha and how we wished he was with us.  Brad insisted we kept going until we got it just right.  That took many, many, many tries!

It was a good time, kind of like a stage in the grieving process to accept that Sasha is not with us, but we can still talk about him and wish he was with us.  My time with Brad was precious… it also made me think of the time that we will not have with Sasha and the time Sasha will not have with us. 

He will not have a sister who will invite him over for a trip or a brother to make memories with.    He won’t have family to count on in the case of an emergency, like the Bible talks about in Proverbs 17:17 … or even just a place to call “home.” And that breaks my heart.

Although we are 7,000 miles apart, Sasha will always be a part of our family.  We will always call him “ours” and we hope he does the same for us.  He is always in our hearts and the focus of our prayers.  Through those prayers, I believe God will be his Father, Jesus will be his brother, and the Holy Spirit will be his comforter. 

…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

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