At some point in his youth my husband was told there had been an older brother. It was somewhat unclear if the infant had been stillborn or if he lived a short while and then passed away. My husband said his parents didn’t really talk about it.
I’ve often teased my husband about being raised an only child. The generalization comes in handy if I want to harass him about stealing bed covers or drinking my glass of iced tea without asking if he can. “You’ve never had to share, have you?” I hiss in my best full-on snarky. He, on the other hand, says he can’t understand why a person would want to go through the sibling dramas so often present in larger families. Neither one of us mean it.
The truth? My husband is one of the most kind and generous people I know. If his parent’s were still alive I’d ask them how they managed to raise such a selfless soul when the temptation must have been strong to cling to him and spoil him after losing their first child. For his part, my husband often wondered about his brother but had no easy way of finding more information. It was like a family thread barely attached to the whole cloth. A couple summers ago he decided to find his brother’s grave site in Michigan. He contacted the cemetery and was given the plot location. We searched and searched but found no headstone. It finally occurred to us the grave was unmarked and located near his grandparent’s headstones. What had happened over seventy years ago? It seemed perplexing, but we wondered if the pain of the loss or perhaps the social expectations of the time had left the site unmarked and silent.
This morning my husband finished making arrangements for a headstone to be placed on his brother’s grave. Although they never knew each other they have a bond in family blood and history. My husband, with his big open heart, needed to reach beyond this world and let his brother know, “You are remembered. Be at peace.”