I wrote last week about the 13th anniversary of my brother Jackson's death. October is always a sad month for me because it marks his birthday and "angelversary."
But this year, I wrote a new plot for the story of my grief. (Thanks, Donald Miller!)
I talker to my sister and decided to start a group for remembering my brother on Facebook. I felt kind of dorky about doing it at first, wondering if I would be seen as wallowing in my grief when the rest of the world has moved on. I couldn't have been more wrong. It has been one of the most moving and cathartic events in the process of grieving Jackson's death.
I formed the group and invited some of my (and his) old friends to join it, and within hours it had exploded. I thought maybe 50 people might join and post a few comments to remember him. But as of right now, there are almost 300 members in the group. I am floored by that. And even better? Some of those people have posted photos and memories of him.
Do you have any idea what that means to me? To know that someone I love is remembered by so many? To know that he is missed and there are Jackson-shaped holes all over the world where he's missing in people's hearts? In hearts besides mine? And to hear new stories about someone who hasn't been alive to make a new story in 13 years? It's like he's been resurrected for me, even in just tiny ways.
The most moving comment was one posted by one of his college friends. He who wrote about a conversation with Jackson and Jackson's faith in Jesus. To have that reminder of my brother's faith and to, again, remember that we will be reunited one day brings tears to my eyes.
In the midst of all this rediscovering, I made a decision. I am going to write a book. Ta da! What's it going to be about, you wonder? As of my last count, there are 14 boys named after my brother. I've had an idea brewing in my mind for a while now (for more than a year, I'd say) to track down all those boys and do something to help them learn more about their namesake. I'm not quite sure how this will all evolve into a book, but I'm hoping it will be a sort of biography of my brother and our family, a memoir of my own life (parts of it), and a photo album/scrapbook of Jackson's life. Then I'd like to include the stories of those 14 little boys.
I started writing it last weekend, and I've just been poking my nose around the idea a little bit since then. I know I need to just write and explore my memories, and then I can figure out the format and structure later. Meanwhile, I'll be tracking down the 14 (I have almost all of them!) and doing some preliminary interviews. Will you keep me in your prayers as I tackle this awesome task?