Your Last Christmas

— Lesa Medley

Our birthdays are two days apart, in December,
yours on the 17th and mine on the 19th.
You were 5 years younger than me, my big
handsome brother Steve. You looked so cool;
the moustache, the Indiana Jones hat and
Iron Maiden blue jeans jacket. With your
trademark Donald Duck imitations, and wicked sense
of humor, you always knew how to make me laugh.

That year, 1995, you wanted to make it here
in time for us to celebrate together.
It seemed important to you.
But, it didn’t happen . . . you missed that by 3 days.
Then, on December 22, you called me up
saying you were in Santa Cruz and needed directions.
I told you to head North on Highway 17 and to call me
when you got to Los Gatos and I would come meet you.
We met at the 7-11 across from the High School
and you followed me home down Blossom Hill Road.
We would get to celebrate our birthdays, Christmas
and New Years together.

So many wonderful memories from that Christmas,
memories I will cherish forever . . . the quiet, lazy morning;
the drive up Shannon Road in the Jeep and the bobcat
that crossed the road in front of us, we pulled over and
watched it make its way through the trees, up into the hills;
we played Frisbee and fed the ducks at Vasona Park by the
lake that sunny and crisp California Christmas afternoon.
There was roast turkey and all the trimmings for our Christmas dinner.

We talked and laughed, a lot. You had so many plans
in your head. You talked of going to Alaska, Montana, or
Wyoming; someplace that was wide open, where there weren’t
a lot of people. You hated crowds. You said you needed the space
to breathe. It was so good to have you around, you had been out of
all of our lives for over 3 years and I was so very happy;
happy to have my brother Steve back in my life again.

Shortly after that you left but you said you’d be back . . . inside
I think we both knew, somehow, that you wouldn’t be.
Six months later, I received another phone call.  This one
from our brother Rob, telling me that you were gone.
The world stopped. My heart broke.

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