I never knew how much death could affect you until it was someone so close to me that I couldn’t ignore it. I can’t deny it; I’ve tried. It’s real, and it’s broken me. I talk to my friends that are mutual, I spend time with those that feel the loss as deeply as I do. I communicate with the ones that I cannot be present with. All the while, they feel his presence with them. We talk to him, we still send him messages. I have conversations with him in my head and sometimes out loud when I get the chance. I don’t know how to exist without him. He was every part of my life, even when he wasn’t there. Every thing that I do, every song that I hear, every show that I watch, there is something left of him right here that breaks me in its recognition.
I want to be happy that I have that but it just hurts, more than any hurt I’ve ever felt in my life. He was half of me; I’ve lost a huge part of myself, and there will never be anything that will fill that void. He left a big hole in my heart and my life that can never be filled or repaired. I can lick my wounds after a long hiatus, but every time I wake up the realization comes to me that he is no longer here.
I can attest to the fact that I don’t feel him every day. I experience life now, knowing that he’s included in every single thing that I do, and I don’t know when the recognition of that will lose its sting. It hurts, more than any pain I’ve ever felt in my life, and it makes me not want to love one more person in my life ever again. He was like my twin; we knew when each other were going through it, and we were there for each other, always.
I remember the times that I was leaving my daughter’s father and my brother would show up out of the blue. He’d assess the situation and ask me where we were going, because he wasn’t going to let me leave alone in the vulnerable state that I was in. He showed up when I tried to commit suicide, when the hormones of birth and the after affects of drug abuse had taken its toll. I wanted to die; I thought that my daughter was better off without me and my weak ass mental state. I didn’t think that it would subside because the trauma that I had been through was constantly triggering me as I was trying to be a new, young, loving mother.
We didn’t have that; our mother didn’t want us around. She used us as a bargaining tool. She used us as a means to hurt our father, the only lifeline she held that anchored him to her. I never wanted that. I loved my daughter’s father, even though he was not the best person when she was conceived. He is better and he is the best thing that she has at the moment and I’m okay with that, even though she is not wanting to connect with me because of the mistakes that I made with her.
It’s not easy, loving people and losing them. I lost my shit when I lost my daughter, when I knew that she was never going to look at me in the same light. I did that. I take accountability for that, but I shouldn’t pay forever. I’m not sure when I’m going to be good enough for her. I’m not sure when I”m going to be good enough for my father, or my sister-in-law, or my nephew. I feel like I’m in a conundrum that will never resolve itself. I feel like they don’t want to admit that they are just as vulnerable and capable of folly as I am. Were they to admit that, then we’d be on the same level, and I’m certain that they hold themselves higher than I currently am.
Certainly I feel lower than everyone else right now. I’ve lost everything that ever mattered to me, even things that I pretended to give importance to. I feel unlovable because the only person that could look at me and hold me on high, was my brother. He knew me like that back of his hand and he saw and felt that I was worthy of so much more. Together we threw our middle fingers in the air and lived the lives that we wanted to without concern for the future or how others would decipher our decisions. We were on the no plan, plan. I didn’t realize that I was going to be left alone with that plan.
Now I have to plan for my own future, one that doesn’t include my best friend. It’s one that doesn’t include the love of my only child. It’s one that has been ostracized by everyone that I thought would be supportive of my grief, people that I thought would understand how lost I am. I don’t know how to exist without my brother. It’s like I’m missing a part of myself, and the song “No one’s gonna love you” by the Band of Horses and it seems to toss my mental well-being in the wind like Thanos got all of the infinity stones and snapped his finger, and my mind was a part that vanished. I turned around and he was gone. I was waiting for him to follow me, like I had done throughout all of the years, he told me so a couple of months before he passed.
What I wouldn’t give for some magical solution like the one I viewed in “Infinity Wars”. That movie was so hard to watch. It was only two days after my brother’s memorial at our favorite bar that I saw that movie in the theaters. I felt personally attacked because I had stopped brushing my hair, let it dread, and began drinking once again after a month of pure sobriety. I never did it for myself; I did it for the people that told me that I wasn’t good enough due to the simple fact that I choose to drink in my free time instead of doing things like hiking, running, and spending my life being a fitness nerd. I’m fittin’ this 12 pack of beer is gonna make me feel numb enough to lie down without my thoughts eating me alive.
Imagine your thoughts as an invisible infection that you can feel, coursing through your mind and your body. I could feel them in my shoulders, making them itch without any recourse. I could dig as far as I wanted to with my nails and never reach to the depth of that irritation, that undeniable sensation that forced me to acknowledge that something was bothering me deeper than any physical motion could reach. The psychological impact of losing everyone that you ever held dear, barring the few that serve as your lifeline, life being otherwise unbearable.
I am thankful for the people that have held me up when I was treading water. I am thankful for the people that excused themselves from my consciousness so that I could have room to come to terms with the fact that my life will never be the same. I will never again waste my energy and my time on the people that do not understand and/or support my gradual decline in strength. I will only hold those that have supported me through my confusion and erratic behavior. I need these people. If I didn’t have them, I would surely perish in my own grief. Though it is sad to see others grieve for my brother, at least it lets me know that I am not the only one that is affected by his passing. I will always have a hole in my heart and my life. I can only hope that those that feel the same can empathize and share their feelings freely with me as well. This is what my brother made me understand, that without people to connect with, this life is a lonely world that has little meaning. Tell the ones that are close to you that you love them, because that is what my brother had always done. Whoever you are, “I love you”; you are worthy of that.