dreary days + vlog of christmas 2015

At the cemetery for my brother's burial the weather was true to the somber ambiance. It was a frigid seven degrees outside. The snow was thick and tall, mounds of pure ice from setting and freezing so long without any new snowfall to give it movement or softness. Gray clouds filled the sky around us creating a dreary and bleak world amidst the tombstones and the dead trees. I could see my breath in front of me while I cried.

Today I went back to work. It's hard going back to normal life when you don't feel normal. But I'm trying and at times I think the only thing that we really have control over is the fact that we can show up. We can keep showing up and sometimes that's really all that we can do, but sometimes showing up at all is a big feat. As I drove home from work today beneath the gray sky I thought about that cemetery. I thought about how much the weather every day since has been perfectly reflecting my mood. Numb and somber, dismal and gloomy, with the occasional soft flurry of snowflakes falling from above. I am very much looking forward to Spring, more this year than ever before.

I had been recording videos for the vlog the week of Christmas and of course on Christmas day. These were all recorded prior to my brother's passing. Last night I sat down and compiled the videos to upload to the vlog and as I watched them I noticed how young and fresh-faced I looked, so happy and carefree. The past week, each time I look in the mirror, I see swollen eyelids and large bags beneath my eyes. I see pain.

Which reminds me.

Our last vlog has a short clip of my brother James in it. It's right at minute 10:15. If you knew James at all, you know that he hated the camera. If anyone pulled out a camera he would hide, so it was always our goal to capture pictures of him when he wasn't prepared. The Sunday before Christmas was the night that we met at my mom's house in Centerville with my siblings to celebrate the Holidays. As it so turned out, this was the last day that I saw my brother alive. I happened to have my video camera out recording a clip since I had just started my vlog, which is the only reason that I now have this short little video clip of James. What a huge thing you guys, what a HUGE freaking blessing, that I happened to capture him on video that night. I have watched that silly little clip a hundred times. That clip is just what I will always remember of my little brother. The classic James smirk he is making while he is walking up to the camera to take it away from me. It makes my heart ache so badly but it also makes me smile, even if through tears, when I watch that video clip. Man I miss that kid.

I hope to keep recording, to keep videoing and documenting pictures of our life, even through these painful days. It brings me some solace to carry around my camera and distract myself a bit. So I will keep the vlog going.

We have had a few good moments here and there lately, and the thing that is really keeping me going right now is the nagging thought: what would James want? He would want me to be looking forward. He would want me to laugh. He would want me to let go of guilt and sadness. He would want me to remember the things that matter and leave out all the rest.

And so that's what I'm trying to do.

Here is our vlog post from Christmas 2015, if you're interested. This one is a little longer but Christmas was fun! I keep forgetting that, the fact that Christmas week was fun. It was the last of fun days before the pain and it feels like years ago now, but it was fun. I'm glad that I have these videos documented to remind me.

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