Memorial Day has new meaning for me since my father, Brion Johnson, passed away several years ago. I can’t visit his grave, but this year I was able to symbolically visit by going to his twin’s grave in Pocatello, Idaho. It was a little out of the way, but I enjoyed getting to visit. I never met my uncle Brent, he died the same day he was born. I never even thought of Brent as my uncle until I was explaining to my daughter how we were related to this little baby, buried so many years before. There is only one date on the gravestone. The date that Brion and Brent were both born and that Brent passed away.
I was on my way home from visiting my sister in Boise, Idaho. She has a new baby, Charles Brion, his middle name is for my father. Charlie isn’t quite two months old yet, but he is growing well and smiles already. My daughter and I said our goodbyes and gave our last hugs to my little nephew, Charlie, before leaving for Pocatello.
His whole life, my father, shared his birthday with his twin’s death day. I never thought of it before, but that day must have been bittersweet for my grandmother. Another one of the questions I wish I had asked her before she passed away. Those hard questions, “What was it like to lose a baby and have a baby on the same day?” My father probably thought about his twin on his birthday, but he didn’t mention it to us. It was just his birthday.
Seven years ago, today, on his birthday, I saw him alive for the last time. It’s a bittersweet memory for me. Knowing that I honored his twin’s memory yesterday, makes today a little easier. Happy Birthday Dad. Happy Birthday Uncle Brent.