Why Wasn’t it Me Who Died that Day?

When memories of my brother Dan stream through my head, I become instantly more aware of them. It’s like seeing someone you know in a crowd of people. They stick out to you as if they are somehow lit up. The recognition is immediate and forceful, yet subtle enough you don’t even realize it is happening.

Today my thoughts bounce from a joke my friend made about me to my Brother making fun of me. We were on one of our many road trips with our cousins and he was rapping insults at me to the tune of an Eminem song. I distinctly remember him calling me the Korean version of Farting Angela (this one stuck for a while). Thanks, Dan.

My thoughts then drifted to a conversation my Brother and I had about how I was my Dad’s favorite child and how he was my Mom’s favorite.  

This triggers vivid memories of my Mom crying in mourning of his death. No, not crying but screaming out the excruciating pain in her body. It was loud enough to vibrate and echo through the walls of our entire house. 

There was so much pain in those screams that you could almost feel it trying to enter into you. It is scarred into my consciousness so deeply that I can feel the grip of anxiety around my chest every time I hear it fill my head. 

Remembering those screams easily led me to question, “why wasn’t it me who died that day?”

I’m sure everyone asks themselves this question at one point in their lives. Because you really do wish it was you. I mean that in the most non-suicidal way it can sound. There’s is just nothing I wouldn’t give to have him here right now in place of me.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve asked myself this question. It’s probably not even the hundredth time in the past five plus years. Why not me? Why did the universe choose him to leave this world?

My Brother was much smarter than me, kinder than me, and a lot more fun than I have ever been. He was going to be something. People counted on him a lot. I know I counted on him significantly more than I ever knew.

I think the people around us would be a little less sad, if it were me who died instead.

My friends would learn to cope, right? My family would be able to handle my death more easily. The world doesn’t need me in it. It needs him. I need him.  The world would be a much brighter place if he was still wandering it.

And honestly, I wish it was me that died that day because selfishly I would rather not have to deal with this pain. I don’t want to have to deal with these thoughts. I’d rather not question why I would rather be dead over my Brother.

I don’t want to be sitting here wondering how I can go on when grieving becomes too much for me to handle on my own. When it would be him I would turn to in these moments to help me cope. He would be the one to convince that it will all be okay.

I don’t want to have to deal with this burden. I would rather leave the grief and the pain to someone else. I would rather selfishly leave this grief to him.

There are things that are going to happen, in the future, that I don’t know how I will be able to handle without him there. It gives me so much anxiety just thinking about having to go through that alone. I never imagined for a minute that I would be ever be without him.  

Your Brother isn’t supposed to die. Not yet.

This is something that was never supposed to happen to you. I know it is useless to think these things but you just can’t help it. You question things when you feel this way.

It’s tough. Some days are really tough. Today was really tough.

Grief does things to your mind. It takes your consciousness to places you never thought it could go. It even makes your soul quiver in fear of the ever present and imminent pain.

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