Remembering The Anniversary Of My Brother

June 1 will mark the anniversary of my little brother’s death. He was 17 and planning to attend Syracuse University later that year.  I would have been at Cornell, and he at Syracuse. Tears flow as I remember my best friend ever. We were always there for each other. I loved him but I don’t think I ever told him so. Love was not a word I heard growing up.

A wave of sadness drowns my heart and soul this time of year. It never fails. Would my life be different if I still had my best friend? At 17, a motorist who didn’t even bother to stop killed him and got away with it. I miss him deeply, and it’s hard for me to remember our times together without a floodgate of tears. His life mattered.

We were poor and had each other. My little brother often came with me if I went out with friends. Once he turned 16, he wasn’t little anymore. He spouted up like the tree in Jack and the Beanstalk.

We lived in the slums of NYC, and in those days, we were scapegoats for society’s ill by Democrats and Republicans. Living in a white supremacist society meant confinement to targeted neighborhoods. But we were too young to care or understand.

We thought summers were torture because we had nothing to do. There was no escaping the poverty surrounding us. We peered at people on the streets from the fire escape. There was always entertainment in the form of disputes at our doorstep. Yet we found joy and moments of laughter and comfort in knowing we had each other.

I remember going bowling, ice skating, rollerblading, and to the movies with my brother. My first time bowling was a comedy. One of my last memories of him was riding the subway to take me to the Greyhound bus station so I could return to college. He kissed me on the cheeks, and it felt weird because we rarely expressed affection. Now it’s one of my most treasured memories.

The anniversary of a loved one’s death is challenging as grief resurfaces. It’s like a clock in the mind that activates grief. I feel out of sorts in the days leading up to and after the anniversary. Yesterday, I woke in the middle of the night and cried uncontrollably, tears flowing throughout the day. I called my mother, and the next thing you know, I was on the phone with my brothers and mother reliving the moment and sweet memories of him. We celebrated his life.

As hard as it is to relive, I never want to forget the memories. My beloved brother Gary  Grant, may he rest in power. He is my guardian angel.

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. -Rumi


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

18 thoughts on “Remembering The Anniversary Of My Brother

  1. Most definitely, GaryGrant rests in the power to have your family stay together over he.

  2. I have to go, they’re calling me there
    It’s cold today, and I wanted a little longer
    Hold your hand, feel the pleasant current, the current
    What if I don’t want to, if I rebel
    Come on, don’t hurry
    I am asking you for light
    My heart breaks, my ground is on fire
    Please, I don’t want it yet
    A few more words
    If anything, I’ll take a bouquet of roses with me there
    At the gate I’ll be waiting looking down
    You look at me in your spare time
    And if anything, don’t worry I remember every day
    And the place will always be next to me
    Wait for you to join here

  3. My condolences to you and your family Angela! I had a brother who passed away but I really don’t remember him since I was 2 years old and he was 4 years. I seen in pictures he wore braces on his legs and he and I are in a photo with him sitting in a stroller with me at his feet. My mother never really told me why he died but knowing what I know now I believe he contracted polio though the vaccine. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like having a brother around.
    I’m from NYC also. Lived on the lower east side of Manhattan in the Lillian Wald projects and in 1963 we moved to the Bronx close to Freedom land amusement park remember that and City Island.

    1. Hi Rudy. My condolences to you and your family. You were only two so wouldn’t remember much. How many siblings do you have? I lived in Harlem, Brooklyn and then my mother and stepfather bought a house in the Bronx. I don’t remember City Island but I do remember having fun at Coney Island.

      1. I have a sister 4 years older and another sister 5 years younger. I lived a few blocks from Eastchester and Boston road. A Burger King was right on the corner, does that ring a bell?

        1. All sisters, it would have been nice to have a brother. We lived close to Albert Einstein so Eastchester Road sounds familiar. Were there Jamaican stores around Boston Road? It’s coming back slowly.

          1. Yes there was! Also about a block south of Eastchester Road on Boston Road was a old movie theater.😆

  4. “Like!” — a pleasure to read, a warm, loving, humanistic, poignant reminiscence. Thank you, Angela, for sharing with your readers. I hope your brother’s soul found some peace within a horrific, untimely passing, and I hope he continues to rest in peace. Surely he’s proud of you, Dr. Grant!

    1. Hi Bob. I know he’s with me. I wish we had more time together. I remember him once saying he could not see me having children. I was taken back and thought it was a bad omen. I never imagined he would die before I had children.

          1. 😊 😉 😈

            But I DO hate that she is gone, and warned God that I will call him to the stand should there really be a last judgment day!

            Btw, I once wrote a piece about the entanglement of Love and Hate. Remember that one?

  5. Condolences Angela, I do remember your grief. Sadly time moves in but when memories hits it is if the trauma was just yesterday. I am a dreamer or spiritual, whatever words you choose to use. Without proof I know we live on and yes he is with you. Always

    1. Angela, that took me back. I remember your card and kind words. I felt lost in responding. Thank you for reaching out.

      You’re right! It seems like yesterday. For some reason, it’s hitting hard this year. I feel his presence. 🙏🏿

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