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Losing My Brother

The experience of loss is one of our most powerful and indelible human experiences. Here is my journal entry from August 24, 2010 on the loss of my brother, Ross:

I am en route to the memorial service for my brother, Ross. He died Friday night.

All of my years are gathered up in his years. He’s been there all of my 73 years.

He’s four and a half years older than me. I remember the first night after his departure for college. The bedroom we shared was filled with emptiness. I feel that emptiness again, keenly, in this moment. A part of me is suddenly gone.

A brother. This is different. Different from the deaths of Mother and Dad. I wonder how…and why.

I’m never prepared for death’s finality. It grips me now with such powerful force. Something has decisively happened to my soul. Something has clanged shut.

Final. Final. Finality. Against this finality I am completely, totally powerless.

Not another word. Never another look. A part of me that has responded to my brother – to his voice, to his look, to his touch – will never respond again. What is this?

How profoundly mysterious are the bonds of life.

Two of my siblings are left – Roberta and John. What a vacancy now exists among us.

Yet, we will love.


    My name, Landon, means “from the long hill.” I started my life in the hills of West Virginia. As a boy I kept climbing those long hills so I could see farther. After a lifetime of journeys and many climbs, I can now see much better, see so much more.

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