This weekend (9/12) is my brother's birthday.

I have had more anxiety, sleepless nights, tears, and roller-coaster emotions for this date than any other date or holiday since his passing.

Which is so different than it use to be.

I use to relish Dan's birthday. We had such an idiosyncratic relationship, that it was almost as if our personalities showed the female and male version? We are sarcastic, brutally honest, and highly emotional, and tend to use very "colorful" words in our speech. (hehehe!)

Dan's birthday was my day to try and find the most unique way of telling my brother how much I loved him. This was hard, due to the fact he did the same for me! One year, he got me a French Book of Mormon, and wrote a beautiful message in the front page entirely in French with "Ton frere" (your brother) signed at the bottom. It would be hand-written letters that would arrive in my mailbox with cherished wishes and thoughts from his heart. The past few years though, he would take the time to personally/literally see that my birthday was complete. Dan is a major chef--not a "tinker in the kitchen" kind, but truly a cook that picks the HARDEST recipes and makes beautiful creations. One of these creations? The "Banana Colada Pie."

No matter where he was, or what he was doing, he made sure that I was given one of these exquisite pies every year for my birthday. We are taking cream custard, butter crusts, bananas, pecans, drizzled chocolate, and I'm sure a million steps to making this heavenly masterpiece.

Each year. For me.

Now you see what I had to "out-do" each year, which, let's face it, anything compared to that pie will ALWAYS fall short! I tried, though. One year it was a concert. The year of 9/11 it was a donation to the firemen and their families. Another year it was a unique pocket watch. Last year it was dog tags with a picture of him and his canine best friend etched into the plates.

This year?

My tears? The place that is vacant? The runs I long to go on with him? The yearning for his rich voice on the other end of the phone? The secret glances we'd share when we would be thinking the same thing?

My heart?

" i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)
i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)" -E.E. Cumings

Dan, for your birthday, I carry your heart.
xo Laura