He would…

He would be 49 today.

He would have a wife, a couple of kids, maybe a dog.

He would have his own house and run his own business.

He would have served his country overseas, doing whatever it took for good.

He would be a baseball fan.

He would support local causes.  Probably participate in setting up an Easter egg hunt for little kids.

He would own a car.  Probably a Ford.

He would go through whatever teens and adults and fathers go through.

He would be the first person to shovel your car out of a snowy ditch.

He would be the first person to lend you his keys when your car broke down.

He would be the anchor on the bowling team, still aiming for his first sanctioned 300 game.

He would be involved in his kids’ education, maybe with the PTA or with an afterschool study program.

He would watch professional wrestling, and maybe go to an event or two.

He would visit the Adirondacks, and spend time in the mountains hunting and camping and fishing.

He would play games with family members – contract bridge if all the adults were there, Candy Land if it was just the kids, Monopoly if adults and kids were together.

He would look out to the stars and find all the constellations, connecting each dot to recreate the interstellar Zodiac.

He would disagree with me on many things.

He would agree with me on others.

He would be there when I needed him.

He would count on me when he needed me.

He would be all these things and many, many more.

And on this morning, on this somber, painful anniversary…

I still recall all the “he would” moments.

Moments that will never happen.

Moments that are still boiling in an acrid soup of bad decisions and horrible choices.

Moments that shook my belief and my faith down to the marrow.  No amount of “God’s divine plan” provided any sort of adequate answer.

I should have been in that car with the rest of my family.

I should have been injured with the rest of my family.

I wasn’t there.

He was.

And in this terrible, miserable anniversary of shame…

I think about how precious this thing called life is.  How we only get one shot at it.  That instant moment.  That tiny fragment of time.

No amount of prayers will ever bring him back, not even for a second.

No amount of tears will ever let him know how much I miss him.

No amount of soul-searching will ever let me understand the choices made that day.  So many choices.

I’ve lost many people in my lifetime.  Relatives.  Teachers.  Friends.  Lovers.  Confidantes.

And among them all… 46 years ago… I lost my baby brother in a single-car auto accident.  He died a few months later, after God called him to the angels.

Allen Miller would be 49 years old now.

Today… all I have of him is a few fading memories… and a marker under a pine tree, where he stays in eternal rest.

For all of you who read today’s blog, find that one person in your life – spouse, parent, child, friend, teacher, teammate, neighbor – and share a moment of love.  A handshake.  A hug.  A kiss.

And hold onto that memory as tightly as you can.

Because it could disappear tomorrow.

Leaving you with “He would…”

When you really want to say “He is…”