Skylar: 5 Years Later

28 Sep 2020

As I begin to type this there are under three hours left in the Six Hours of Unknown. It’s surreal sitting here toggling between typing slowly or holding my brother, my graph paper journal a blur of tears and ink, while trying to conjure up words to say on The Day.

My younger sibling and I were born 1150 days apart, or 3 years 1 month 23 days. From the time he was born it was simply a fact of life that each autumn it would start off with my birthday with xirs birthday a month and 23 days later. I expected no less in 2015: myself 19 years of age turning 20, my brother 16 years of age to turn 17. Since 28 September 2015, the gap between us is now 2977 days as this number only gets larger with each passing day.

Over time I’ve learned that there are no “right words” to say for a loss like this and the subsequent grief.

Grief has no timeline. Sometimes it’s quietly humming in the background; sometimes it leaves you riddled with grief in the middle of celebratory moments; sometimes it reminds you of its bittersweetness on the more bitter end briefly, then allows you to go back into the moment wherever you are.

After years of reading Derek Parfit’s work, I made the conscious decision to work on putting less weight on the date itself and focus more on the relationships with my brother and the ones I love. Last year on The Day I noted that “xirs death did break down direct experience-memory relations, but there are still experiences occurring and happening with him as xirs psychological continuity and connectedness remains through collective past and future experiences.”

With less than half an hour left in the Six Hours of Unknown I’m going to use this time to share some words from over the years (some repeats from Skylar: 2 Years Later).

I love you so much, Skylar.

It’s bittersweet I’m finally who I wanted to be for him. I want xir here next to me seeing me now, to know our wildest dreams and fantasies growing up while trying to survive together could exist and come true, to share all of this directly with him. I can’t, not with xir directly anymore, but I can for other folks. […] The fact that The Day exists will never be okay. I can, however, keep this dream alive and continuously make more memories and experiences with Skylar. As the Duchess said in Alice in Wonderland: “and the moral of that is—’Be what you would seem to be’” - Facebook, 28 September 2019

3 years, 1 day. Banana chocolate chip muffins. Skylar’s old favourite growing up. We’d get them freshly baked by our neighbours. Bites of warm fluffy sunniness to fill and cheer us up. - Facebook, 29 September 2018

I miss him being here, alive, with me, next to me, laughing with me, talking about our dreams together with me, arguing with me on topics we’re passionate about, swearing at me for stupid mistakes I’d make that’d annoy him, everything we had for the 15.5 years I had him for before I escaped our hometown, I miss him so much dearly - Blog, 19 September 2018

I know it doesn’t really matter what time exact. Except I just need to know. The hour, minute, second, millisecond, and further. I need it. - Twitter, 27 September 2017

Couldn’t really sleep because I’ll never know what time it really begins until now. So this is it: one year since Skylar Lee. In some ways the worst day of my life losing my own younger brother by genetics, trans and nonbinary too, also created some of the most beautiful days I’ve ever had and I’m grateful I expanded my human emotional experience even if it were in sad ways too. All I can say is I love so many of you even if I don’t say it and to be well in your own unique ways, it’s also okay to be sad too. Stay safe all. - Facebook, 28 September 2016

Today for my birthday I found out how much my brother’s funeral costed. I paid for the burial lot so he can rest someday in a place that’s well lit and sunny. - Medium, 5 October 2015

This morning of my birthday was rough. I haven’t held my brother in so long and now he was in my lap. In a box. I just kept hugging him even though I knew he would never speak to me again. - Facebook, 5 October 2015

Is it too late to tell someone I love you? - Medium, 4 October 2015

I used to rest my face in one hand at the dining room table, watch my brother carefully make boxes or cards and arrange the flowers in them for his friends. It didn’t make sense to me why he did all of this or what the point of it was. All I could see was that he was determined, happy, and humming along to the sound of nothing as I’d just poke at him so we could do something else together. - Medium, 1 October 2015

It’s just that my brother ended at 16, 2 months to his birthday and 7 days to mine. - Facebook, 29 September 2015

To all the people contacting me yes, I do know what happened and yes, I am trying to get back to Madison right now. I ask that people who are wondering please do not ask me. For those whom are aware yes, it is true. […] but once again please do not ask me. Thank you. - Facebook, 28 September 2015