Everyone has inspiration for the great things they do. Thomas Edison had Ben Franklin for example, Martin Luther King jr. had Mahatma Gandhi, and Stephanie Meyer has J.K Rowling and a little bit of crazy to help her come up with “Twilight”. I am in no way a great writer, In fact, I have always HATED writing, but for the past several years I find myself with thoughts going in and out of my head at a thousand miles an hour. After seeing the success of my older brothers blog I decided to start one also. I still have a hard time slowing down those thoughts so I can write them out but I am starting to succeed and have began to enjoy expressing them to others. For this, I have the inspiration of my amazing brother Tim Gage.
This post is dedicated to him. To acknowledge his great accomplishments and how he has changed who I am today. Having siblings much older then me has always been a challenge growing up. I was in second grade when Tim graduated highschool, and what 18 year old wants their 8 year old sister hanging around them? My sister also, being 6 years older then me, had her own social life going on and didn’t much appreciate the annoying child trying to hang around, and altho we are close now, Tim had always been the one to let me be an annoying sister.
I feel so lucky to get a brother and sister. One of each. But poor Tim had two very emotional sisters. Two younger sisters who cried, screamed, fought and giggled with girlfriends on pretty much a daily basis. Growing up, I have so many fond memories with him. He let me hangout in his room and watch him play playstation. He took me to see the original Star Wars movies when they were re-released into the theaters. He even did all the dishes when mom told me to, and never spilled a word about me being lazy. Never once did we fight (altho he was good at arguing).
I feel so lucky to have gotten to share in alot of the same passions he had. Between both of my siblings, I feel I am most like my brother (sorry Amber =]). I spent a lot of time in school being teased, wanting to be creative, staying home to read instead of go out with friends and found the same accepting love in the world of theater then I ever did with the “party” girls I hung out with in high school. Tim is, and always has been, my inspiration for the great things I try to do. I know I will never be as good at them as he was, but now I feel the need to try and follow in his footsteps. Not just for me, but to keep his legacy living on.
At first, I had what I thought to be an easier time then most handling his death. We all saw it coming for some time and it seemed best to happen. His last few months were not good, and let me tell everyone that watching your only brother slowly suffer is the hardest thing you can go through. I do believe that what I went through was harder then anyone in the world can understand.
People often tell me “I know how you feel” and I nod…..but no. No you can not understand. You can not understand what it’s like to see your already skinny brother get skinnier. You can not understand waking up every morning to the sound of your brother puking up his entire being. You can not understand being on stage with your brother, spending christmas time with your brother, and in only two short months later watching him go from headaches and dizziness ,to laying in a hospital bed in your living room completely helpless and drugged up and unable to speak or see you. No one can understand that.
I try so hard to block out his last few days from my mind. He wasn’t him, and it breaks my heart still to close my eyes and see those images. They wont go away….I feel so trapped. How does someone block memories and why can’t I do it? I was in such denial about the whole thing. Even when he got to the point where he couldn’t make sense of his sentences, I told myself it was the medications he had, even tho deep down inside someone was screaming at me that it was the cancer. Maybe because my mom would keep talking about “when your brother dies..” my every bit of being held onto that little string of hope and my denial stood ontop of reality. All I can picture is my brother laying there on his last day with us, his eyes were empty and starring off into nothing. The sounds he made I can’t even explain….but those sounds…those sounds of death…. the sounds of pain and frustration and feeling cheated out of life. Those sounds still echo in my ears and I want them to go away so bad.
The last time my brother spoke to me was the monday before he died. I was heading to work and I said i’d see him later. He just said “Bye.”
….Bye. Not “See you later”, but bye. When I got home he was sleeping, and by that next morning, his last day, he couldn’t even speak anymore. I spent all Tuesday by his side, along with my family and two of Tims close friends. I feel like I can’t even remember much about the day other then it was long, and my haunting image that wont leave me alone. The image of holding his warm hand, and looking into his eyes. This is where no one can understand my pain. The pain of looking into his eyes, and seeing nothing. Just the suffering and frustration of someone so young and someone who tried so hard. I remember feeling so angry at the world. I was angry at the doctors, I was angry at my mother, I was angry at myself. I was angry that I was looking straight at him, straight into his eyes and I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t do anything. I was angry that I was talking to him and altho he starred back at me, he couldn’t see me. Not only did I feel he was cheated but I felt cheated too.
One-by-one, we all fell asleep. Everyone except my brother-in-law, and when he left the room for even two seconds, that was the moment my brother chose to leave his body. I know he chose that moment too, because it is such a Tim thing to do. Secretly, when no one is around to witness and bother him. Waking up to my brother-in-law telling me he had just passed away is my other hurtful memory. I was sleeping on the floor next to Tim’s bed, and I sat up faster then a blink of an eye. My heart completely sunk and I heard my thoughts screaming at me “No, no no no it’s not true it’s not possible he is gonna get better he wont die.”I practically leaped onto his bed, grabbing his hand and feeling nothing but cold. It was a complete 180 from the warm hands I had just been holding and felt moving hours before. Instant tears, instant screams from us all as we one-by-one woke up to someone we loved and cherished to have left us alone.
My sister I think is the one who suffered the most. She just starred when she realized he died. No sounds, no cries. Just the blank look of what I know was the feeling of failure. She tried so hard, devoted much of her work and family time to saving my brother, and I know she has felt the most cheated from this situation. But I envy her so much for trying, and I know my brother is nothing but thankful for all the love she has to give us all.
So here I am. Almost a month later from March 17th 2010 and I am finally telling people how I feel. The easy time and relief I had from having to watch him suffer is finally turning into ultimate grief again. I am so used to having him around it has turned into nothing but pain. At first it was almost like he was just gone at rehearsal, or back at college. But now….now I find myself needing answers and he isn’t around to answer them. He isn’t playing poker in his room, he isn’t watching Arrested Development on his laptop nor is he sitting at the table reading a poker magazine and eating a toaster strudel. Not getting cast for the first time in a play was where it struck its first chord. “Not cast…but I need advice! I need reassurance that it’s not the end of my potential theater hobby!” …..no answer. No ‘Break a leg’ before my audition ether.
My house is too quiet now and for the first time I am constantly alone. The sounds that once annoyed me or lulled me to sleep are missing. Tim often fiddled with poker chips on his desk while he played online poker, and I would hear the sounds of them clanking together repeatedly. No loud movie playing at 1 AM in the next room while I tried to sleep is heard anymore ether. My whole routine is thrown off, and each day the absence of those sounds become more and more real.
I can feel myself sinking now, slowly into the hurt that has been absent for the past few weeks. I can feel myself fighting the pain as well, because Tim wouldn’t want me feeling this. This pain that is creeping up on me is exactly why my brother fought so hard. He didn’t fight just for himself, he fought because being the selfless person he always has been, he didn’t want any of us to feel what we are feeling.
I find myself the last few days pacing back and fourth in my room. My mind once again thinking one thousand things at one thousand miles. Back fourth, back fourth. I keep thinking exactly what I know I am not supposed to think.
“Why?” I repeat.
Back fourth, back fourth. “Why did this have to happen? Why god, do you feel the right to take someone so selfless and talented from us? Someone who had a big impact on so many lives?”
back fourth, back fourth.
Stop……stop and stare at the wall. Stare at the wall and feel the frustration of getting no answer.
back fourth, back fourth, I continue on. “Why couldn’t this be me instead? What do I do? What have I done? I don’t have an impact on a community. You, god, never blessed me with any talents to share with the world. Not like Tim.”
I keep trying to understand his death. I come up with answers but they are just excuses. “Why do you take the good, and leave behind the lazy, the useless, the angry, the rapist, the problems? Do you take the good because they have done what they were intended for? Tim enriched so many lives, there is nothing more he can do for anyone? You leave behind the problem people for us….is it to understand more of life, and learn to solve these problems? To teach us? You gave a young man cancer and allowed him to suffer because it was his time to go?”
Then I remember….
No. No you didn’t do that. You have no control in any of this do you? Cancer is just a disease that happens at random. Happens to the good and bad and will most defiantly happen to the rest of us.
I wish I had answers. I wish I knew where Tim was right at this moment. Is he reading as I am writing? Writing, his favorite thing to do, on his computer? Writing about him.
Tim, Tim, Tim… I felt you were around still at first but your absence is becoming too noticeable. It’s making me uneasy. Why can’t you give me a sign? Your baby sister needs you. Your nephews need you. Your mother needs you. Your best friend needs you.
But you can’t help me can you? This is a life lesson, isn’t it? I need to learn on my own. You have accomplished so so so much, how do I follow that up? What am I supposed to do now with myself? 20 years with you, and now I have to spend the next 60 without you. Hardly seems fair.
From here on out, my accomplishments are for you. My attempts to succeed are for your name. I will try and try some more and I will learn in the process. Why ask “What would Jesus Do?” because my real question is “What Would Timmy Do?” I will do what I can to enjoy life for you. Because I know, that’s all you wanted out of yours and others. Enjoyment. You showed us how short this one you get can be, but how much a single person can do in it. Your almost two years with cancer has changed me, and your passing has even more. I miss you so much, and I need help now more then ever. Please, please hear me. Please let me know you are better. Please let me know you are happy. Please don’t leave me alone here.
Please help my hurt and helpless feeling go away.
I love you, and I miss you for always. Thank you for being the best, smartest and funniest big brother anyone could ever have. Thank you for teaching me everything you did. Thank you for always sticking up for me. 1 month down, only719 to go until I can see you again. ❤
Timothy James Gage 6/6/1979-3/17/2010
(P.S. I know this blog is sort of all over the place. I feel I have so much to say, but I don’t know how to properly write it. It just takes practice and skill to get to the writing potential I need to be at.)