Wednesday, January 6, 2016

12 Year Anniversary of My Brother's Death - Morbid, I Know...

He was involved in an accident with a bus. He was trying to pass the bus, which didn't have it's blinker on, on his motorcycle and the bus hit him. He was pronounced "dead on arrival" at the Day Kimble Hospital in Dayville, CT. I was twelve years old.

It's been a long time, but I still remember coming home from school to Amanda sitting at the kitchen table. Her solemn expression didn't match the sunny yellow paint on our walls. I asked her what was wrong, and where our parents were. She simply said "your brother died." I was shocked, but mostly confused. I have a lot of brothers.

Immediately I started thinking maybe my eldest brother had overdosed again. Or maybe another of my brothers had gotten alcohol poisoning. There were a lot of possibilities going through my head, but the one brother I didn't think of is the one that was gone.

She elaborated after I asked her what she meant, and said my brother, W, had been in an accident. One thing I don't know if I'll ever truly forgive her for is her lack of compassion. She didn't try to console me, she didn't seem to care much herself that he was dead. (I later learned that she did very much care, but she has a hard time showing emotion. I didn't understand that at twelve.) My grandmother called me into her room and I sat and cried.

Just six months earlier she had lost her own son, my uncle, to cancer. And eleven months later, my father's son was involved in a very serious car accident. He didn't die, but he was in the Intensive Care Unit at UMass Hospital for months. He was left brain-damaged and had to undergo extensive facial reconstruction.

Fast forward to 2009 and I lost my step grandmother. It was fairly sudden, but she was getting on in age. I had also lost a friend to suicide just months earlier. Then the next year, the hardest blow thus far, I lost my maternal grandmother. The one that consoled me when my brother died. The one that held our family together. She was one of the most important people in my life, and she was gone.

But, the worst loss of all, was September 28, 2013. I was enjoying a beautiful late-summer Saturday at my young cousin's birthday party. I received a call from my father's ex-wife that said to get home asap. We went with heavy hearts. My father had been ill, and had been getting progressively worse over the months preceding his death. When we arrived at the house, his ex-wife was standing outside with a solemn expression. "Is he?" I asked, unable to finish. She simply nodded. I broke.

When my brother died, I was young. It was sad, I missed him a lot, but I moved on fairly quickly. A few months after he passed away I moved out of my home town and was dealing with all of the stress of being the new kid. When my friend and step grandmother died, I cried a lot, but also moved on fairly quickly. They didn't impact me as much as the loss of my grandmother and father.

It's been twelve years since he died and it still hurts to think about it. But I've gotten to the point where I can smile fondly at my memories of him. He was technically my step-brother, and I didn't know him well. But what I did know is that he was one of the kindest men I've ever known. I will miss him always.

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