Eighteen years is a lifetime. It's the amount of time we consider sufficient to make a man out of a boy, or a woman out of a girl. It's the amount of time we consider sufficient to teach a person what they need to know in order to make an informed decision on whether or not to smoke, and who to vote for in an election. And, it is the amount of time that has passed since my brother died.
I'm not the sort to continually mourn. Most years, this day passes with a slight hiccup, just a small reminder that he's gone and not coming back. This time of year doesn't bring a special pain, just that reminder.
Instead, my grief comes in small doses, when I want to ask for his help knowing how to comfort a child much like him. My grief comes when I look at my child and know that he would have enjoyed knowing his uncle, or my nephew knowing that he should have had his father. The grief comes when my son wants to talk math or physics and I know that my brother would have loved talking about that with him, or when the boys are playing D&D and I know he would have enthusiastically joined in.
The grief is brief. My mourning is done. But today, I remember my goofy, irritating, smart, slightly neurotic brother. RIP Frank III. I love you.
If you would like to read about the day he died, I wrote about it 4 years ago.