Normally I’m so very in touch with my feelings. Normally.
Normally I can name them even when someone doesn’t want to hear them. Normally.
Yesterday normal stopped, and it hasn’t restarted yet. I don’t have words for my feelings. In fact, they’re lost, rumbling around in my brain, not sure where to go.
You see, my brother, Michael, died yesterday.
Since I don’t live near my family, my communication lifeline is a phone. Of course I was at school. Students come on Wednesday. There’s so much to do. My friend, Carol, was with me correcting some of my bigger mistakes. Then the text. He had been taken to the hospital, and my mom was going up.
The calls back and forth trying to figure it all out. My sister, Christine, called to tell me. I didn’t cry. I still haven’t. I don’t know why.
Some might blame my anti-depressant, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s that, because we didn’t really have a relationship, I didn’t lose anything. Which is just horrifying, sad, pathetic, and awful. To think when someone leaves that you’re sad because he was so young (46), he had children just out of high school (19 and 20), that he’d already had heart problems but that he went to the doctor every three months so why? My thoughts aren’t “I’ll never see him again.” I rarely saw him, and when I did it was for short periods of time. I’m not thinking, “I’ll never hear from him.” We didn’t call, email, FB post, comment, send letters or even carrier pigeons. In fact, I have the same relationship with him that I always had. One of hearing about him, but not experiencing life with him
I’d like to think that this feeling of being numb is just shock. I’d like to believe that at one point I will fully mourn the loss of my brother. Yet, perhaps, I’d already lost him a long time ago in old battles, perceived hurts, judgments, and estrangement. Perhaps the only thing left to mourn is the place where we come together as family, united, and have a real, authentic relationship with one another. There is no chance of that ever happening now.
Yet, he will live on. As an organ donor he was able to donate many, many parts so that up to 100 other people can benefit. His eyes, bones, veins, heart valve, and skin will all help other people. Because he was stationed overseas in the first Iraqi conflict, there were organs that couldn’t be used. Yet, to improve the lives of many in death is a wonderful legacy. As my niece pointed out, whoever gets his skin is lucky. He had the most beautiful skin — clear with a gorgeous complexion.
So to my brother who died at the same age as our father, I say good-bye. I wish I had known you better. I wish we’d made each other better, stronger, and happier through collaboration rather than being separated through competition. I wish you’d had a happier life — fulfilled. I hope in whatever is next, for you were a believer, that it is an afterlife worth being in for eternity. I wish you great love. I’m not sure you always had that.
Rest in peace.