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Chasing the Clouds Away

Twenty nine years is a long time. But these particular memories are incredibly vivid and visceral. I feel them, stored in my body. On this day - May 9th - in 1989 my brother Tom died. 1986 It has been a dozen years since I wrote this piece about him. It all still holds true but there’s an added dimension. My son is 18 and has now been alive longer than my brother ever lived. Tom was terminally ill with leukemia his senior year and died just before he would have graduated from high school. He missed out on the excitement surrounding that, along with so many other milestones. This has been on my mind even more since my own teenager attended his senior prom last weekend. And my amazing son will walk in his graduation ceremony in just a few weeks. We’re planning a graduation party featuring many of his favorite foods, activities and people. I can’t help thinking about my brother and wishing he could have lived to experience such milestones himself. I always wish he could be here, to have grown up with me and watch my son grow up. The two of them would have gotten along so well. I daydream about an alternate world where he survived and regularly enjoys brunch with us, and comic con, and going to movies, and sharing cat videos, and embarrassing each other on social media the way only siblings can, and traveling together and just hanging out at each other’s houses, spending time together. If only.

Incidentally this post title was inspired by my son. When he came home from prom I asked about his favorite moments in the evening. After dinner he and his date and their friends went to Gold Medal Park to take more photos, along with dozens (possibly hundreds) of other prom-goers that night. At the dance itself there was a red carpet, for more photos. The prom was Hollywood-themed after all. And my boy did dance. He admits to actually dancing at the last several school events he has attended, which pleases me. He is so much less self-conscious than many of the teens I grew up with. But the thing that amused/surprised me was when he asked “do you know the song September by Earth, Wind and Fire?” Yes, my child, yes I do. It’s actually slightly older than I am having been released in 1971. But my brother had been born just before that, in 1970. And it seems like it was always on the radio when we were growing up.

Prom group shot

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