A sibling is, perhaps, one of the most peculiar individuals you will come in contact with. American author Susan Scarf Merrill has said that “siblings resemble us just enough to make their differences confusing.” Yet when you are a sibling you have, regardless of familial frustrations, been born to a friend.
Siblings have a connection like no other; our brothers and sisters are an intricate part of our lives that make us who we are. An older sibling has, along with our parents, known us longer than anyone else, and when a brother or sister dies, their death affects us in ways never imagined.
The fifth anniversary of my only sibling’s death is coming up in two days. My big brother, Ron, was driving home on the Interstate after church on a Sunday evening when the rear passenger tire of his SUV blew out, causing the vehicle to roll. He was not wearing a seat belt.
The minutes since his death have turned to hours and then to months, and in an ever-shifting life, I have now become owner and resident of our childhood home. My family moved to this house when I was still in diapers, and it was here that my brother and I grew up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and in the love and safety of family. Now my own little family lives and loves and laughs here, and from time to time, I still catch whiffs of the scent of bygone days.
At unexpected moments, I open doors and drawers and discover tucked away memories of old, dig in the dirt with my child and unearth flashes of the past, watch my daughter swing and climb and run and fall and get up, and find keepsake scenes of days long ago. And while some of them cause tears to overflow, most just make me smile.
We had a wonderful childhood, and we were best friends. By our teenage years, we often went different directions, and as we reached adulthood, we tended to seek out and travel divergent paths. Still, even though we had changed and found our own unique places in the world, when tears fell and smiles spread, we found each other. And I always knew, no matter what, I had been born to a friend.