I woke up really early this morning for no apparent reason, just like I did last year. Last year I woke up sad because Mom was traveling away from my little island. This morning I woke up sad because since that day, nothing has been the same. It’s not the sad of the last week. I think I’m just back to numb. For me the anticipation of the anniversary is far worse than the actual day. Of course, I will think about my brother all day but now that it’s here, it’s not really different than any other day other than being acutely aware of a time frame. 

I think of Tye every time the kids turn on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives or Duck Dynasty. I teared up at the Pro Bowl Game because he wasn’t there. I see things on Facebook and imagine the comments he would make, the fun he would have at an upcoming wedding, the birthdays that he’s missing, the text I would get when he found out Arleigh is wearing braces for less than two months. He is missed so much more than this one day of the year. It’s just one day of many. 

It doesn’t seem right to let the day pass and not say something though. Besides Tye loved attention of any sort. As I thought about some of my favorite memories yesterday one popped in my mind. 

A little over 13 years ago, Mom and Tye boarded a plane on Christmas Day and showed up in Iceland. Tye was excited from the moment he stepped off the plane and kept us all in stitches. There are so many stories from that one trip. Like the time he was all up in Arleigh’s face as I was trying to change her diaper. She was about to turn about 3 weeks old. He was cooing and talking. I was gagging. For some reason when I am pregnant or nursing my sense of smell is exponentially greater. I tried to ask Tye as tactfully as I could to go brush his darn teeth. I thought it was his dip. He was red and embarrassed. The next diaper change I realized it wasn’t Tye, it was Arleigh and her poo. Ooops. There were other stories too, like Tye going to the Navy Ball and disappearing in Reykjavik nearly giving Mom a nervous breakdown. He ran off with a DOD teacher that I barely knew. It was just one more time that I wanted to throttle him. He rubbed his hands and hair when he jumped in the Blue Lagoon and it started to snow. He was more excited than anyone about the frozen waterfalls and I’ve never seen a human being eat so many pylsas. (Icelandic hotdogs made from lamb)

The great story and how I choose to honor Tye is remembering a certain outing. When he and Mom started planning their trip Tye was so excited because he read an article in Maxim magazine about the world’s only penis museum. It was cold, bone chilling cold. Gulfoss was completely frozen cold. It was dark most of the time. We took advantage of our middle of the day light, bundled everyone up and drove to Reykjavik. I couldn’t even tell you how we found it. It wasn’t like I had a phone with Siri. I remember a tiny building that was stuck in a corner of an industrial area. We walk in and Tye was all show. Even Mom got into it.

Tye quickly found the owner and of course made a new friend while I snapped pictures. No worries, Mom. This is all about Tye. I won’t rat you out and let anyone know how much fun you had posing and laughing at it all. 

Arleigh has no idea how well traveled she is… a trip to the penis museum and her first mainland adventure included a trip to the Maker’s Mark Distillery. I never took a picture of my week’s old babe at the museum probably because she was tightly bundled under my coat. 

Today I’m sad that I will never have the opportunity to introduce Tye to my buddies at the Mac Nut Farm or listen to him hoot and whistle at a fire dance. I’m broken that there won’t be more times that I see him jump in the pond fully clothed with my kids just to say he did it. I miss his love and laughter but he lives on in his many, many stories. Today I’m choosing to hold on to that. If I ever do write a book,  you can bet it will be about Tye Tye.