Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday. He died in a car accident in 1997, a few weeks after his 20th birthday. I miss him very much still. I was only 22 myself, and it took me many, many years to even begin to come to terms with his death; I didn’t handle it well at all. Finally, just a few years ago, I made the long overdue decision to focus his birthday each year, rather than on the anniversary of his death, which is later this month. I don’t dwell on the pain any longer; it’s still enough to make me catch my breath around this time even after so many years, but it doesn’t ravage me as it once did. I remember instead his smile and feel so grateful that shortly before he died we were able to spend some very special times together. I think about the good stuff. I’m grateful that I had his love for the time that I had it.
I wanted to share this poem here today because it might help someone else as it has helped me. I found it in the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami memorial garden on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, in 2009.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.