Sunday would have been my brother Billy's 49th birthday. My family did the best they could to find a way to think of him and about him that day, without being too terribly sad.

My sister, in a weird bit of paranormal that fits better in with Iceland than the U.S., even had a mysterious message on her phone that morning about Billy, which she thought one of us had sent, but we hadn't. That was comforting, to think that he is somehow still with us, still communicating with us.

In a family dynamic like ours--where we are spread out all over the place--it is not so much not seeing Billy that makes me realize he is dead. Even when he was alive, I would go months, maybe even a year or more, without seeing him. It is not hearing from him that is so hard. No emails, no text messages, no phone calls. Not hearing his voice, not reading words filled with his signature wit and intelligence, not having texts from him reminded me to do this or that, these are the things that remind me every day my brother is gone.

Even if I believe he has become an andi, watching out for us somewhere.


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