I had a free hour at work today and I logged on thinking I would finally finish my 2015 Boston Marathon Recap. I knew as soon as I sat down at the computer that my heart was in a completely different place. Shortly after I received a text from my Mom that confirmed my feelings "Happy Birthday to my special boy! Hope you have a special day reflecting on the great things he taught us and know he loved and cherished you!!"
May 5th 1988, the day that 2 year old Shelly changed forever.
May 5th 1988 the day that Trevor James, "TJ" came into her life and the most amazing, loving, genuine and perfect bond formed. Love at first sight. Best friends sharing everything together.
Trevor and I, best friends as we were, absolutely were far from perfect. Together we embraced the highs and the lows of life and no matter what, hell over high water, we were always 100% there for each other. We both went through a lot of trials, especially as teenagers and young adults but our deep-rooted bond that developed as soon as Trevor came out of the womb never faltered.
As hard as I try to think of a day that Trevor and I even as much as argued there is just simply none to be discovered. We literally never fought a day in our lives and we never ever went a single day without talking. We knew the deep dark secrets of each other’s lives, the intricate details, the fears, doubts, hopes, and dreams. That bright blue eyed, red curly haired boy was without a doubt my favorite person on the planet. Trevor and I, we understood and accepted each other for our many imperfections, we just "got" each other, and nothing would rock that bond. We would be best friends forever.
Today, May 5th 2015 Trevor would be 27 years old. Trevor has been gone from this earth for over 5 years. I truthfully cannot believe it and I struggle to even comprehend how I’ve moved forward without him. That’s the thing about adversity, I don’t think we’re even supposed to understand it. If we did we would hide from it and run away. We wouldn’t grow, our opportunities would be limited and life would be stagnant. When we are faced with trials quitting isn’t an option. We have no choice, so we falter, we fall down, the wind becomes stronger and the fight becomes harder. Yet somehow in the dark chaos and turmoil of tragedy we too become stronger, more resilient, and capable of weathering the storm.
What I do know and understand, as I reflect on the life and legacy of my brother, is that I am a better person and a changed person because of his influence in my life. I am also a better person because of the lessons Trevor continues to teach me as I carry on without him on this journey. I don’t always slow down enough to see what is supposed to be gained from the struggles and fears I face but when I do there is so much to grasp and appreciate.
As I woke up to the sound of my blazing alarm this morning drowning out my eardrums at 5:30am I laid in bed and simply starred at the ceiling. I thought of my brother and appreciated Trevor’s simplicity. I went for the slowest run around the orchards in my small neighborhood and remembered my brother. I stopped. I listened to my surroundings, I breathed deep and took in the sights of the morning, and I thought about my life.
I was overwhelmed with love, emotion, and thoughts of my brother and his simple love and compassion for others. It really made me reflect on what I want to be, what kind of legacy I want to live, and what I want to be remembered for. Trevor always cared most and was a good example of what really is most important in life. Trevor you see, didn’t have a whole lot. He didn’t have a car, a cellphone, or many friends.
Trevor’s joy came from reading history books, eating at taco bell, watching re-runs of Family Guy, Cheese Nips, and time. Time talking, joking around, and laughing about life. He did not care one bit about how much money he or anyone else had, how many likes he got on a facebook post (he didn’t have facebook), how strong his muscles were looking, or if his friends thought he was cool.
He was never trying to beat anyone at anything or prove anything to anyone else. Trevor was mindful and simple. Most importantly Trevor devoted his time, love and energy to the people who he loved most. I’m so thankful that through losing a sibling I have been blessed to change my perspective, see life a little differently, and grow and develop my relationships with my family and those who matter most.
My message to myself, and to you, on today the day that will forever in my life be Trevor’s day is to focus on the things and people who matter most. Forget for a moment how fast you can or cannot run. Forget about mistakes you have made in your past, or things you wish you could change. Unplug from your smartphone, take a break from your studies, or even leave work an hour early to be with your family. Miss that all important work meeting or event that is scheduled at the same time as your son’s soccer game. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who on their death bed said “I wish I would have spent more time at work” or “I wish I would have spent more time on social media.”
At the end of the day the things that matter most, and what I remember Trevor for are the way he treated other people and his deep genuine love for his parents and his family. Trevor was a pure, simple, and perfect example of unconditional altruistic love. Happy Birthday baby brother.