Today, I am making room for a certain person, and for forgiveness for him.

I don’t talk about him much.  It hurts.  I usually end up crying and fretting.  He was an older brother to me at a time of great need and, while he’s estranged himself from the family, I still think of him as the older brother I never had.  It’s difficult to remember around the holidays and big events of my life that he’s not around.  I try not to remember.  I try to shut him out, to let him live on the fringes of my mind and life until he wants to come back, but sometimes he bursts in, unbidden.  Today was one of those days and a reminder that the hurting doesn’t make him less important.  This is a letter to him.

Dear you–where ever you are,

I miss you.  A lot.

More importantly, I call every six months, unintentionally on a clock-work schedule, because I love you.  I don’t call just to bug you (although, I have considered the ‘annoy him until he responds’ approach–let’s both be glad I decided against it).  I call because I want you to know there are still people out here that love you and care about you and want you to succeed.  Then, I keep my phone next to me and un-silenced for days, hoping that this is the time you’ll call back.  Each time you don’t, I swear I’m going to wait for you to come to us.  I swear I’m going to wait until you’re ready.  But I don’t know if you’ll ever be ready and what a shame it would be if you didn’t know that we’re still here.  And a further shame if you finally were ready and thought we had stopped wanting you around.

After a couple weeks of disappointed hopes, I tell myself you’re still figuring yourself out.  That to call or text would be too much.  I work hard to forgive you for every time you haven’t called or texted back.  I work hard to make sure that I don’t hate you; you know how I feel about being abandoned.  I have to work hard to convince myself you haven’t realized how badly it hurts out here.  I tell myself you’re busy rebuilding relationships more important, and I believe all of it most days.  I hold onto the last day I saw you and you were just there and even happy.  I try to remember you as you were that day, not the absentee brother you are now.

Because, guess what: you are still my big brother.  I have not given up on you and I won’t.  I have faith that someday being my brother will matter to you in a demonstrable way once more.  I refuse to believe of you that it doesn’t matter at all right now.  Someday, I’ll get the response text or call.  It won’t be like it was, not remotely.  Nearly everything will have changed.  Please believe me when I say that what WON’T have changed is how much I love you, how much I look up to you, or how much I think you’re one of the greatest guys in the world.  I know–you’ve made huge, huge, huge mistakes.  With everyone, least of those people being me.  In all reality, I’m just some kid you lived across the hallway from for a short while and helped with some emotional turbulence and a couple school projects.

However, that doesn’t change that in every inch of my heart, you are still my favorite big brother.  The one brother who was equipped to understand me best, despite having been a stranger for so much of my life.  You are still the guy who taught me to hope in a future that could change.  And I still believe in that future for you.

So, for this Christmas, my present to you is much of what it has been every year: I promise to keep trying.  I’ll keep trying to raise you via phone or text.  I’ll keep trying to forgive you when you don’t answer.  I’ll keep trying to hope in a future that’s better.  I’ll keep trying to preserve our sibling-hood.  I’ll keep trying to let you know how much you are loved.  I’ll keep trying to make room for you.  I’ll stop trying to push you out.  I’ll keep trying to understand.

One day, I just know it, this will be better–all of it.

I’ll keep trying to do my part to make this end of it so.