Didn’t want to write today. But also didn’t want to not acknowledge it. Today, when I woke up and went in and got my little one up, I felt the overwhelming sad.
Today is my little brother’s birthday. He would be 34 today. He died 4 years ago. The last time I hung out with him, I was visiting home. I was lamenting our upbringing, saying how hard it was for me still to be comfortable being myself and fearing the truths that my family taught me really were true. He told me that when he was 18, he walked into church, kneeled down and cried for 15 minutes. Then he said, “god, you and i are good. And we are done.” And he walked out and never worried about it again. I don’t know why some of us are so much more affected then others. When I got the call, matt was already driving to find me at school. I went home and called my brother jp. We got in the car and drove 12 hours to home. To a home that joe had been the day before.
The thing is when joe died, my brother pat and his wife stephany were at the hospital having a baby. My whole family was there. When they brought Joe into the emergency room (it was too late, he was already dead), they called my family over in labor and delivery and they all came running down. My mom and dad were there and they got to run down and see joe and say goodbye. I would imagine that scene over and over again, them running down the hall of the hospital, fresh from a birth to find their favorite son dead. The fear and dread and disbelief they must have felt as they ran the hall to see the reality of this.
We all went out to my brother peter’s and everyone got drunk. We had a fire and sat in the night and the stars. When the pain became too much, one of the brothers would take off running and jump into the ice coldcreek, howling and wailing with all their clothes on. I think they thought that the freezing water would keep the grief at bay. And maybe it did for the first cold second.
We created a vigil in his house. He lived in a studio house. Small, compact, perfect. We lit a candle and put down a sheet of paper for his friends to sit and write and drink and if they saw something they wanted, that meant something to them, to write it down and we would get it to them. there was always someone in that room for a week. if someone would show up, the next one would leave.
I was going to tell a secret now. But I think I just decided not to. I guess I will leave it here. It hurts to write this and remember that grief. He was our golden boy.