Today after work, God said, "Call your brother," and I knew which one He meant, so I called the one I still can call, the youngest of what had been three of us. Tomorrow will be his birthday, and, as I once did, he will turn older than our older brother ever came to be; no longer forty-seven.
"Listen." The phone is cold and hard. "It's your last day of being forty-seven, so I called to tell you that I love you, but also, what Joseph said.
I had told Joseph, 'You can't die, you know. If you do, then, twelve months, three weeks, and one day later, I will be older than you ever were. And, that just can't be. So, no. Sorry. No dying.'
And he smiled, slowly (as he did everything toward the end), and he said, 'Yes. Three hundred eighty-seven days after I die, you will turn older than me. You may. You have my permission. And, in fact, the thought makes me happy.'
And he smiled bigger."
The car is still cold, but my cell phone has warmed to the task, as have I.
Tell. I tell. I add.
"And now here I am, so much more than forty-seven, and now you are facing what I faced, three-hundred and eighty-seven days after everything changed.
It is more than okay that you are going to be more than forty-seven.
And in fact, the thought makes both of us happy."
A freelance writer, mother, and grandmother, married more than thirty years, Ann's work has published in The Christian Science Monitor, Caelum et Terra, and Orthodox Family, among other publications. She is currently enrolled in Fairfield University's MFA program in Creative Writing.