Challenges in life are inevitable. How we handle those challenges is what determines our happiness.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
Written on April 10th, 2021.
Today is National Sibling’s Day. I’m not sure when every day became a holiday but I am ALL for finding things to celebrate! Of course, there will always be days that not all of us can celebrate. Mother’s Day for those who lost their mothers, Father’s Day with no father. I guess today is a holiday of loss for me. However, I had 24 years with my brother and I will continue to celebrate that forever.
Before I jump back into those 24 years and the days with my brother that stay in my memory forever, I want to take you to Sibling’s Day, 3 years ago. One year after Jeffrey’s passing. Forgetful what my social media feeds would be filled with, I was unprepared to see the world showing off their brothers and sisters. I was jealous, longing and sad.
The way I deal with grief is by reworking the thoughts that come into my head. We may not be able to control these thoughts at first, but we can meet them where they are and then adjust them with our attitude. Of course my initial response waking up to Sibling’s Day was to cry. I don’t have a brother anymore, so what once was a celebration, is now a memorial. But then something amazing happened. I had been thinking about getting a tattoo in his honor and I woke up determined to make this dream happen. The best celebration I could manage that year. In a way, to celebrate with Jeffrey again.
I put on my bathing suit, considering the side of my rib cage was my desired spot to tattoo, grabbed my headphones and headed out the door. Hitting play on my “Jeffy” playlist with a skip in my step. “Jeffy” was what I called my brother before I could pronounce my r’s, and his playlist was full of songs we used to jam to together. A collection of Blink-182, Good Charlotte, Relient K, Janet Jackson’s All For You (a 90’s kid’s classic), and every Eminem song that existed on my phone. My walk to the tattoo parlor started and finished with “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. Energy bursting through my soul with each verse. I lost myself in the music as I skipped all the way from my apartment in Santa Monica to the Ocean Front Tattoo Shop on the Venice beach boardwalk. Ocean views and a Nintendo 64 on the shelf above symbolically stared me in the face as I got marked with my brother for this Sibling’s Day and every day to come.
“Lose yourself in the music” is exactly what Jeffrey did. Literally & metaphorically. To those who knew my brother, you can probably picture him with his headphones over his ears. Drumming with his hands, COMPLETELY lost in the music. It was his passion. Dissecting lyrics, studying beats and rhythms and the artists who created them. No one was more crafty at the job than Eminem. My favorite version of Jeffrey was when he was clapping out the beats to explain Eminem’s thoughtful rhythm patterns. I remember it like yesterday. Whether we were in the car together or sitting around the gazebo with friends, his excitement was contagious. Pure appreciation for the art and genuine satisfaction while enjoying it.
Not only did my brother lose himself in music when he listened, he immersed himself in all of his passions. “He was an avid and skilled video gamer, and he possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of gritty television dramas and comedies that he shared voluminously with anyone who would listen. He had recently finished writing a dystopian fantasy, which he was looking forward to seeing made into the next Netflix blockbuster.” This quote can be found in his obituary, written by his cousins who knew him best. These passions drove my brother’s spirit and those who were lucky enough to meet him will most likely remember this quality of him best. Always thrilled to share what he had found. To challenge his theories on Reddit and discuss storylines and examinations with his friends and family. His enthusiasm poured onto those around him. Trust me, nothing could make you excited about death metal unless Jeffrey was telling you about his favorite bands. The energy flowing from a passionate person, someone who loves hard and spreads joy, is the type of influence each one of us can benefit from. The spirit we must all hold on to.
Whether today is a holiday you feel hindered from or you find yourself in a situation where outside forces seem to be working against you, my advice is to “lose yourself in the music.” Fall in love with what makes you happy, share that joy, and never let outside forces pull you away. Jeffrey reminded me of that every day he was alive and continues to remind me still with this short but meaningful quote I now carry with me permanently.
Lindsay Greenberg, providing perspective on how to live a magical life.