Its Been 7 Years


Arturo Castañón Sr.

September 19th, 1958 – July 5th, 2004

I could never experience another person’s pain when a loved one passed on. Sure I would go through the funeral and rosary ritual of paying my respects and feeling sad. But I could never feel their pain. I would try to smooth their stunned expression and say “I’m sorry. These were just words that seemed empty and had no meaning to them. I could see the pain in their face and the tears in their eyes, but I could not feel their pain. There was this gaze in their eyes, almost as if they were staring into space. It was almost as if they were in a “trance”. My life has now changed, and after my brother’s death, I can honestly feel another person’s pain. I’m no longer the blind person I once was before my brother’s death. Even as I write this entry, there are tears running through my eyes.  It’s a pain that never goes away and a pain that I cannot describe. You have to lose someone close, to understand the extent of the pain I feel.

In the days and weeks and months, following my brother death, countless people told me, “time heals all wounds”, “it will get easier”, give it time, now, here I am seven years later, and I can say that yes, in some ways it has. My brother’s death is not always one of the first things I remind myself of when I awake, nor is it the last thing I think about before I go to bed and fall asleep. It no longer consumes my mind like it used to. But I still feel him around me and see him in my dreams. This makes it easier for me.

But, even though it has been 2,656 days, I still miss him.  I still have days and weeks when it’s just as painful as it was seven years ago, and I still have moments that make me cry and go into a depression. There have been many occasions when I’m watching a movie, or listening to a song or talking to a friend, when something just pops up and hits me like a brick. It can be a line or a situation that someone remind me of Art in certain way. Suddenly something’s different; there’s a feeling of sadness, emptiness and a feeling of longing for my brother with a downpour of bittersweet sentiment. Sometimes during these moments my cell phone will ring or someone will say something to me and the feeling is gone and I bounce back immediately. Other times, I feel the tears rushing to my eyes and am forced to keep it together. I refuse to forget him. No matter how long I live and until the day I die, I will never forget. The pain that I have is just a reminder never to forget and that he will always be with me in my heart and soul.

The hardest thing that I have had to deal with since losing Art is the realization of how much time has gone by.  Birthdays, holidays, and other activities are all reminders of him. There are days when I feel like it was just yesterday that he died, but other times, I feel as if he almost never existed. There are moments when I must consciously think about how long it has been since he died. It’s as if he were here in a past life of mine or a fiction of my imagination and that he actually never lived.  There are times when I realize that I’m slowly forgetting things. This is one thing I swore I would never do and that scares me.  So now, I make a concerted effort to replay certain things in my mind that allows me to feel this pain to serve as a reminder to me that he is still with me. Many people who have not lost someone mistakenly believe that death is something you will “get over.” However, the truth is, I still hurt and it’s the little things that hit me the hardest when I least expect it. Love you bro! Gone but not forgotten.