This date always creeps up on me...on us...on my extended family. In writing and remembering it's not about "celebrating", or giving power away to the darkness that at one time was all consuming ...yet the anniversary is here and this year I really feel the need to discuss it more fully than other years. I'm not entirely sure why...yet.
On this date, 19 years ago, my brother Jim was killed. Killed. There's a definite word. Other descriptors such as taken from us, died, passed away, etc are just too soft, too normal, too easy. This date was anything but easy and normal.
Jim's 25 yrs went by all too quickly. He was a young man of charm, wit, stubbornness, athletics, and protective of his family. That is what got him killed. That protectiveness. You see (for those that didn't know me in 1991) in my small hometown the local "crazy" guy targeted me, and then my family, which resulted in Jim's death.
I remember that date in detail as if it was yesterday. I remember the phone calls, the radio announcement which my mom heard at work, looking for my brothers, trying to protect my dad from the news until we had heard officially from the RCMP, the police finally arriving to confirm what we already knew, people coming to support us before we were officially advised, friends rallying and supporting us in any way they could, the outrage of the community, the audacity of the "crazy" man's friend who came to our home even though he was involved on that fateful night, and there is more....many, many more memories. More memories to come and experience as this horror became a media interest, the legal system came into play.,..for years....the injustice of our justice system...and people who were supportive and those who weren't.
A part of me hates remembering. For many reasons. The obvious...it hurts. The second reason is that I don't want to give "him" any more thought and time and heartache. He's taken enough over the past 19 years...and more actually. I don't want any thing in my life and thoughts to be about him. Thoughts of "him" are there though.
I wonder if he's still alive. After all he would be 86yrs by now. I want to know if he's alive and where he is. I even called the last place I was aware of him residing to see if he is still a resident there...he isn't. I know there is no remorse there and never could be. He is a sick, sick man. So, why the need in regards to knowing his whereabouts? Not sure. Just want to know.
My brother's death doesn't define me anymore. There was a time that I felt it did. My life was consumed by court dates and grief. Plus there was...."You're the girl with the brother that got killed. I heard it was over some girl." It kinda was. Me. My family. I felt like I couldn't go anywhere without hearing about Jim's death. Some of it was good....people reminiscing about Jim. And that is invaluable. That I treasured. Those days are gone too. A memory. Jim's murder will always be a part of me. It is not who I am though.
Yet, this day cannot be forgotten. Maybe should not be. Somehow remembering the tragedy and it's cause is important too. I can't explain why. Yet, it is.
Jim is remembered. Jim is my brother and he is a part of me. A part of my boys. An uncle they will never know but still he is a part of them and maybe, just maybe, he's one of their guardian angels...watching over them, teaching them a love for carpentry, sports, and getting into mischief!
So, today I remember the details of 19 years ago. I remember the loss, the shock, the anger, the sadness. I remember my brother phoning me to join him that evening and even now, all these years later...I wish I had.
I remember....lots of things. Mostly, I remember Jim.