Dealing with my brother’s murder: Love like it’s your last.

In December of 2011, a homeless guy killed my brother.  My oldest brother, Jeff, one of my heroes, was murdered. The moment I heard the news all I could say was, “No.” My whole being rejected what I was just told. Denial.

From the floor in my bedroom I tried to explain to my 3-year-old son why daddy was crying. Struggling to find concepts, let alone words, to some how shape this tragedy into something my son’s innocence could process, I realized the vileness of what just happened.

I’ve never experienced such invasive loss. The past year and a half has been missing something. Him. His absence wrecked my philosophy, theology and grasp on reality itself.

He is one of my special people. One of those people in my life I feel, for whatever reason, connected to on a deeper level.

I haven’t made sense of what happened. I’m not OK with it. There is no peace. I don’t know how to deal with it. Sure, time has dulled the sharp pain of loss some, but if I think about it for a minute, all the anger, hate and emptiness is right there waiting for me.

Like a net spread out between me and a bottomless pit of darkness, a simple mantra became a way of moving from one moment to the next:

Love like it’s your last.

A simple reminder to love with the awareness of life’s brevity. If this were my last moment on this Earth, what would I do? How would I treat people? How would I speak to people? What would I say?

Those last moments of consciousness would be immeasurably precious to me. My goal is to live life in that state of mindful appreciation of everything and everyone around me.


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