Last night I was writing my book and thought, “Hey! I wonder if any of Andrew’s friends are on Facebook!” There are two that I can remember the first and last names and I found them both. One is married with three kids and the other just got married. As I look through their friends lists, I see first names I recognize with a face that seems familiar. What would happen if I reached out?
“Hi, Chris. This is Meghan. Remember when I babysat you and your sister? Remember my brother, Andrew? Can I live vicariously through you? Tell me what I’ve missed out on!”
How awkward…what is he supposed to say, “Uh, yeah, I remember.” Or even worse, “Wow. That was a long time ago. I don’t quite remember you babysitting. I remember Andrew a little.”
This is a new view of grief. I can’t help but look through Chris’s photos and other classmates of Andrew’s and wonder. Would Andrew be married? Would he be a dad? I’m assuming he’s straight but what if he wasn’t?* I’m assuming he’d be clean cut like Chris, but what if he was a party boy like Austin or a grungey guy like Brandon? So many what ifs!
And what about Andrew’s career? One of his friends appears to be in banking, one might be an artist or musician, one looks like a full-time frat boy, one a manufacturing worker…what would he do? Would he still be friends with any of these guys? Would he still be interested in science? If I peeked in on his public Facebook information, what would I have thought?
As I looked at his friends’ photos, I wondered what Andrew would look like now. They all had elements of their kid faces still peeking through. This is where it starts to get me. I want to know what he would look like. As I imagine him now, he’s sitting on that stool in his lab coat by the sink that is doubling as his science lab. He’s got that goofy bright pink hat on his head and test tubes in his hands. Just to have a peek into what could’ve been…but then, is that helpful? What good would that do? Then I’d be mourning even more for the loss of a brother, uncle, and brother-in-law.
Lately, the hurt that I feel is not for me, but for Georgia, Violet, and Matt. I think having a brother-in-law would’ve been so helpful for Matt. He would’ve been able to understand our family a little bit more, his relationship with dad would be totally different…I know he and Andrew would’ve gotten along. And my girls…My girls are the only grandkids on both sides. I always said I wouldn’t marry an only child because of that exact thing but then I met Matt and realized it was a silly thing to say. Matt is more than worth a silly thing a 13-year old said. That said, I still wish for something different for all of us — life with Andrew.
Seriously, why did I have to go on Facebook? Now I want to reach out to Chris, Brandon, and Austin. I want to ask them what my brother meant to them, do they still think of him, what did they think back then, does it impact how they are raising their families, does it matter to them now or is it just something that happened in 1992? It’s not just something that happened to me, I wish it could be stripped down that much, this was something that changed me. Andrew’s death made me more, and less than I wanted to be.
Every life event is less than it was supposed to be because Andrew isn’t here. Is that true? Is every life event less because he is missing? If he had been at my wedding, would it have been better in some way? It was awesome as it was. Would a family get together be that much better because he was there? Would my girls love seeing Uncle Andrew and playing with their cousins? Is it too much power and pressure to put onto a 7-year-old boy who would now be 34? Sometimes it’s the things that never got to happen that hurt just as much as the things that did happen. I wish I had a sibling to talk to about this. I have no one who can relate, all of my friends have their siblings. On the flip side, every life event also means more than it normally would because we are aware that life is precious and every day is a gift. Why does every story have two sides?
* To be clear, I would love Andrew gay or straight, it’s just something I wonder about sometimes.