When Video Becomes Memory

On this date, in 1993, my little brother Brandon Joseph Achtman died.

Sometimes I remember being held by my father as I kissed Brandon’s cold forehead before helping to close his tiny casket.

But this is something I cannot possibly really remember since I was just two years old.

The reason I “remember” my baby brother’s funeral is because of the home video we have of it.

I asked my father about why he thought it was important to have this video. He told me, “It was important for me to make a tribute of his life because he was my first son. It was important to have a memory because you don’t want to forget your children and without the video, the memory could fade away. A photo is not the same as a video because in video we hear our interactions.”

My father also told me that it was important, to my mother and him, that I experience a part of the celebration of my brother’s life, before the funeral service.

“We didn’t want to shield you from it. We wanted you to be fully a part of it. As a family member, we didn’t want his death to just happen and not involve you, even if the solidification of memory was not possible.”

My parents involved me and they also gave me this video that has become like a memory for me.

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