Dear Brother

Dear Brother

Dear Paul,

Things haven’t been the same since you died. But then again, I guess I can’t expect them to be. It’s been a little over ten months, not quite a year, since I found out your body had been crushed in a car accident. The you I knew was gone. I’m not sure why I’m tracking the time other than trying to figure out how much time needs to pass to heal this wound. People keep saying it’s going to take time. But what do they know? They didn’t know you.

I keep thinking about the little things. The impish curl to your smile and the way you would show your teeth and chuckle when something really tickled your fancy. How you were always the one to start a technology business when the four of us siblings would play “community.” The one time you were still in high school discovered I had a wireless card on my laptop and wandered out into the yard to see how far the signal would go. The white “thunderbir’a’” you drove with the giant red back seat blasting bag-pipe music and mentioned feeling like a pimp. How you could go on for 45 minutes about cup holders and everyone would be in stitches. The quiet way you would be diplomatic even when your eyes gave away that you didn’t always agree.

You were always a much better diplomat than me. Learning how to shrug it off and lock it down when someone pushed your buttons because that was the easiest way to keep the peace. I was always ready to explode. I feel like that now. I want to rage, weep, protest and petition the universe to change its mind. Like somehow it’s still just a big misunderstanding.

But where is my diplomat to remind me to say calm?

It’s been ten months and not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, but I also don’t think I’ve faced that you’re dead. Like a piece of me believes if I just keep going about my business I can ignore it. Pretend that you’re just… away.  Stationed in Korea or locked away in your basement apartment in the Appalachian Mountains making another one of your famous home brewed beers.

It hits me at odd times and I can do nothing to control myself. I might be looking at pictures of you and realize that there will be no more pictures. That your face will be forever frozen, forever young and smiling at me from places on paper or corners of the internet. Or like tonight the lights are off and I’m lying in bed focusing on drifting off to sleep when I hear the sound of fabric tearing. Slinky in his infinite fervor in attacking a bone on the bed has ripped yet another hole in my duvet cover. There are about a dozen other holes that I’ve mended and haven’t bought a new cover because I know there may inevitably be another hole because Slinky is still young and he could care less about the blanket.

Another inevitable hole. I can’t handle that thought. I can’t even stay coherent as I just let the thoughts and feelings rush through me and pour through my tears and sobs. The blanket I will mend. But me? I’m not sure what to do to mend the hole that you left behind. I just get the feeling that each time I try to patch it, the cracks appear and the water floods in again. That somehow the world is moving on at a fast clip without me and I’m being left behind. Because the truth is, even you’ve moved on.

But I carry on with the distractions of being too busy at work, being too busy with music, being too busy at the gym, too busy rehabilitating Fischer (who is now hobbling around on his own three legs again).  Giving so much of myself to things outside of myself that I begin to feel like I might explode. Because I don’t know how to take care of me or accept help outside of myself. I’m afraid of another tear in the fabric that is me. This one hasn’t mended yet. I can’t blame Slinky for that.

I also don’t blame you. I’m not angry at you. But I find myself at a loss, wondering what my virtual needle and thread are going to be and if I even have the tools at my disposal to make the repairs. You were one of the people I borrowed those tools from. So the void on the other end of the line leaves me at a loss, while I desperately try to cling to anything my fingers touch in the dark.

Love you. Miss You.

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