“And now I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”                The Dance (Garth Brooks)

This song reminds me of one of the best moments of my life and one of the worst. The best moment was in September of 1996 img127when I got to see Garth Brooks live in concert. I was there with one of my roommates and 3 of my coworkers. We had seats that were essentially behind the stage, but he didn’t have a backdrop so we could still see fine. While my coworkers were off getting souvenirs, some tall, lanky cowboy came up and asked my roommate and me (seated in our seats) if we would like to be moved down to the second row. Um…YES!! He gave us new tickets, and away we went (after finding our friends and letting them know). The concert was phenomenal! If you have never seen Garth Brooks live, watch the YouTube video I included, and you’ll get an idea of what he’s all about. Whether you are a country music fan or not, it’s well worth watching! (You will probably want to grab some Kleenex beforehand.)

The worst moment of my life happened just a little less than a year before that concert. It was in October of 1995 – my brother’s funeral. I had chosen ‘The Dance’ to be played because it really speaks to me about life and how I feel it’s meant to be lived. We aren’t meant to know how everything will turn out, and we won’t always go through life without any struggle. We are here to learn (from the things that bring us happiness as well as those that bring us pain), to love, and to live life wide open. (I’m not sure I actually knew all of that then, but I definitely felt it when I listened to this song.) It will be 20 years this year since he passed away, and every time I hear The Dance, it still brings me to tears. I can’t control it even if I wanted to. I just let the tears come because to me it’s only a sign of how much love there was – and still is.

“If the days won’t allow us to see each other, memories will, and if my eyes can’t see you, my heart will never forget you.” -unknown

Since my brother’s accident, I’ve had good days and bad days. On the good days, I am able to fondly recall some great memories – even the ones where he was being truly annoying. Like the time he made me so mad that I swung a frozen turkey at his head. I’m not joking. (Although I missed btw.) Or how he used to always refer to me as his ‘snotty nosed little sister’.  There were many fun memories too. Like when we were kids – going fishing at the brook near our house or ripping down the hill on crazy carpets. And as we got older, I always knew that he was looking out for me, regardless of whether he would let on or not.

On the bad days, there is only the painful reminder that he’s not alive. The sadness washes over me as a flood of thoughts enter my mind. ‘I wish he was here so we could just hang out.’ ‘I wish I could say sorry for any of the times he got on my nerves, and I got mad.’ “Why did this have to happen?’ ‘I miss him so much.’ The moments of despair are less frequent and less intense as time goes on. Mostly, I suppose, because I hold firm to the belief that The Universe had much bigger plans in store for him, and he chose to fulfill that. He is best able to help those of us still here on Earth by being where he is. Even though we might not see him, he continues to dance.

“I hope by sharing my own experience it will help to dry someone else’s weeping eyes.”              ~Sheila Sykes~

PS. For anyone who has lost someone dear to them (whether it’s a brother, sister, mother, father, friend – it doesn’t matter who), I hope this poem will bring you some comfort. It does me.

Letting Go by Shannon Billeter

You’re still here in my heart and mind,
still making me laugh cause your stories live on.
I hold you in a thought and I can feel you.
I feel you and this gives me strength and courage.
The tears I have cried for you could flood the earth
and I know you have wiped each one away.
For you Brother, I promise you this;
I will go on with my life and make you proud. I will always hold you in my heart.
I promise you I will be missing you every day till the end of time,
but this is not my end and I can’t hold my head underwater….I need to breathe.
I need to love and miss you, but I also need to live because through me you will live,
you will still laugh and love,
you will still sing and dance,
you will still hug and kiss.
You will forever be in our lives,
you will forever be a brother,
a son,
an uncle
and friend.
I am going to miss your shining face
I think of you and wonder why?
I might cry or smile,
but at the end of the day I am one day closer to you….

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