My Brother’s Ashes: An Epitaph

Last Saturday, June 30, 2007, my younger brother died. I’m in Oklahoma with my parents this week, trying to be strong, but failing miserably at it. I’m still rather numb and mute from grief, but I thought I’d post this short epitaph.

Jimmy Dale Pittman

(April 21, 1954-June 30, 2007)

The youngest of our family,

Of the four of us,

You should have been the last

To leave this earth

Instead of the first.

You and I had talked of caring

For our parents, for the end of their lives,

Instead, they and I cared for yours.

You were always twice as strong as me,

Twice as tough, twice as wild and reckless,

Twice as devoted to work and family,

I truly thought you indestructible.

Your passing was

So sad, so sudden, so shocking,

The grief is like the ocean’s tide,

Semidurnal, drowning me in emotions at its high,

Ebbing only enough to allow me to catch

My breath and hold on to my sanity.

I didn’t understand the physics of loss.

Your wife will keep your ashes,

Until that day when her own are mingled with yours,

Search the urn and you’ll find

A part of my heart there too,

Mingled with my brother’s ashes.