Sunday, July 8, 2012

To my brother one year later

You died one year ago today.

 365 days.

It doesn’t seem like it has been that long because the pain is still as fresh and deep as it ever was. And although I feel compelled to write something to you today, I just do not have the words for all the emotions that are swirling in my heart. I feel compelled to tell you that living a life without you has not been easy; in fact, of all the years in my life, this has been by FAR the worst and it's mostly, but not entirely, your fault.  I feel like I should tell you that remembering you – your life and your death – still hurts every bit as much today as it did last year; I suspect that this is the kind of pain that hones its edge on passing time, becoming sharper as the years march forth.

There are so very many things I want to say to you today but… I just don’t have the words. The English language has no words that can adequately describe the deep kind of grief that I feel; I can’t blame Webster because I’m fairly certain that God never meant for the human experience to contain moments like these. I feel obligated to tell you that as sad as I am, that I am still so very, very angry with you. I am so angry that you could throw the love of your family away like it was no more precious than a used Kleenex. It makes me sick that you could ever have thought, even for one moment, that your life didn’t matter. It infuriates me that you thought taking your own life was a solution to everything screwed up in your life. But most of all, I will never, ever forgive you for involving me in your last day and I cannot ever forgive you for breaking your promise to me. That broken telephone call on July 8th, 2011…the one where you PROMISED ME that you would answer when I called you back and then promptly broke that promise…is the most cruel thing you ever did to me, and that’s really saying something because you could be a real shit when you put your mind to it.  You reached out to me that day, but only a small fraction of the way and if I had known what you were about to do/had already done, I would have done things so damned differently. And maybe the ending would still have been tragic, but maybe my last words to you would have been different and maybe your last words to me would not have been a heartbroken cry that still lingers in my head at night.  I wish to heaven that I could forget that sob, but I have a feeling that when I'm ninety and riddled with Alzheimer's, forgetful of all else in my life, I will still remember that phone call.  I cannot forgive you for the feeling of utter terror that surged through me when I called you repeatedly that day and you did not answer your telephone and I cannot forgive you for the stabbing in my chest when I heard what you had done and knew with absolute clarity that it was already too late for you. Perhaps if you had given me a bigger glimpse into your world I would not have failed you so epically – and perhaps I would not feel so responsible and so miserable and so damn broken. You were my baby brother and I failed you completely and for that I cannot forgive myself. You were my childhood partner in crime – we grew up together and we were supposed to grow old alongside one another – and now you are gone and one day I will be completely alone, the last branch on our family tree. It was not supposed to be like this and for that, I cannot forgive you.  At least, not today.

I feel obliged to tell you that I still do not understand why you chose to give up on life when it had not yet given up on you. I will never understand how you believed so little in your tremendous potential and how you were never able to escape the shadows that haunted the corners of your mind. They say that to everything there is a season and I will never understand why your season was only 26 years short when it should have been 90 years long…and I guess that the timing is between you and God but that doesn’t mean I understand and I definitely do not approve. There are so many things that I wish I could have told you – and that I wish you could have understood. I wish you could have understood how very deeply you were loved by ALL of us and I wish you could have really understood that none of us ever stopped believing in you, even though you couldn’t believe in yourself.  I wish you could have realized that life is too short and too precious to be wasted on one moment of darkness. I wish you could have comprehended that at some point in life, ALL of us feel used, wasted, friendless and alone even though none of those things are true. I wish you could have had the foresight to see that even the dreadful moments in life pass, that nothing terrible lasts forever. And I also wish you could have understood that sometimes the bad things pass on their own… and unfortunately, sometimes you have to apply a little elbow-grease and force the bad things to move out of the way. But what I wish for you is, in a sense, moot – because if you had understood any of this, you would still be here with us today.

I know that I will see you again one day and maybe one day I will be able to forgive you for some of what you did when you doused your fire with amitriptyline – but right now that day is just too damn far away.  I’m still no closer to understanding what happens when we die but if there is some form of consciousness left in you somewhere, I hope a small part of you misses us even a fraction of how much we miss you, and I hope that small part of you will run to meet us with open arms in heaven.

I love you, baby brother. Always did….always will.