7 years, 5 months, 20 days, 4 hours, 25 minutes
That’s how long ago my brother Lanny died. He was five months shy of 25. It definitely gets a little easier every year. And by a little, I’m talking miniscule amounts of easy. If Lanny was still here, he’d no doubt be watching the Lions play the Bears today. Wearing a Lions jersey (though hopefully not the Harrington jersey he rocked the last time I saw him on Thanksgiving day in 2005). And maybe even throwing back a beer or 10 (we’re part Irish, what can I say?). He’d also likely be celebrating his birthday albeit a few hours early. Tomorrow Lanny would have turned 33. Surreal.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. I’ve experienced no greater pain than the loss of my brother. It is with me every day. It’s always like a punch in the gut when I think about it. And it will always be with me. But these days when I think about him, and usually shed a few tears (let’s be honest, I can cry at the drop of a hat), I try to think about how lucky I am to be where I am in life. And I try to think about how proud Lanny would be of me if he was here. Because his opinion and acceptance of me mattered greatly.
It’s easy to get caught up in grief. I am an expert at this, having suffered too much loss in life. It’s much harder to turn that grief into something positive. But I am always up for a good challenge.
So, today I shall celebrate Lanny. His life. His smile. Him. His love of life. His love of the Lions. His love of me and the rest of our family. And I ask you, my friends, if you’re not a Bears fan, give a little love to the Lions today and join me in cheering them on to victory. For Lanny.
Happy early birthday, sweet brother. xoxo