My baby brother would be 9 years old today. It's a little surreal that so much time can pass, that someone can be missing from your life for so long. It's hard to explain the loss of someone who I didn't really know, it's not something I really grasp. I do feel it more keenly since becoming a mother. The loss of a child, an infant, is particularly tragic when you have children of your own. I wish I had a video of him, professional pictures of our day with him. Pictures of the funeral, the burial. It sounds so morbid, but I wish that was something I had known I would want. I don't have much I can share about him, but I can share the eulogy I wrote for his funeral.
12 January 2000
You came as a surprise, a little unexpected miracle. I remember the joy and giddiness all of us felt to learn that we had been blessed with another rug-rat, another identical face to add to the pack.
It was so much fun to imagine what you would be like. Odds were in favor of another lefty like Tony; another thumb-sucker like Mary; another accident prone kid like PJ; a big heart like Beth's; Becca's work ethic; an angel face like Lucy's; charisma like Molly's; the innocence of Margaret; the music and wisdom of your Father; the love, patience, and understanding of your Mother; and sorry Max, but a temper like mine. It's no wonder that God decided he wanted you back.
Max, there are so many things that you will never do in this world. You will never know the feel of the sun on your face or the feel of the grass between your toes. You will never know the pain of a scraped knee, the heat of a fire, or the cold briskness of a Wisconsin winter. You will never bury your face in the fur of our kitties and come up sneezing from the allergies that all of us have. You will never have to eat chop suey, and we all envy you that. You will never suffer through your first stitches, your first day of school, and your first crush. You will never know the magic of falling in love.
But Max, you have something that all of us want. You will wake up every morning to the songs of the angels. You will spend your days in the arms of the saints before us. You will dine at Christ's table. And as you lay your head to rest on a pillow of clouds among the stars, your Heavenly Mother will kiss you goodnight.
So Max, until we reach our final destination and meet the angel who God could not part with, your brothers and sisters are going to make you a promise. We will live everyday like it is no other, experiencing everything for you. We will live each day so that we might tell you about it later. Everything that we do you will also do. Our days will be yours, and not a moment will pass without us knowing that we are giving part of it to you. Through us you will know this world. You're in for a heck of a ride Max, you had better spend a lot of time with St. Michael.
Meanwhile Max, you watch out for us and keep your sparkling blue eyes on your big sisters and brothers. We all know that our parents are the most wonderful guides for our earthly journey, but it is also comforting to know that someplace up above someone pure and wonderful and innocent will be guiding us like no one ever could.
We love you Maximilian.