Monday, March 17, 2008

My brother

So many postsb have been brewing and in draft mode, be prepared for several in the next few days. Posts about completion, uterine infection, the terrific threes (oh how I jest!) and a poll on whether I will or will not actually ever have sex again.

But first.

Today is the anniversary of the day my brother was murdered.

Try as I might, even one year later, I just can't wrap my brain around the idea that this happened. Murder is something you read about in novels, see on television, something that happens to other people. Not those you know, love, miss.

We shared a love for reading, our father's hands,the same smile when feeling self-conscious. There are probably more things we had in common, things I'll never know about. We didn't grow up together. His mother harbored bad feelings toward our father, and me by association. Most of the time when I called she wouldn't allow him to speak to me or wouldn't give him the message. My letters were thrown in the trash or received back "return to sender." He'd only recently moved out of her home, at age 21. The chance to know him as a child was taken away by his mother, the chance to know him as a man taken away forever by his murderer.

He was able to say who did it prior to passing, and that young man was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison, then deportation to his country of origin. I should feel some sense of justice in that, I suppose. Maybe even relief. I don't. Just a deepening sadness. It might be tempered with hope if I could know this time will be spent wisely, if I could know this young man will emerge from prison in his early 40s having used his time for education, reflection and a sense of purpose. If I could know that his child won't be forever damaged by an absentee father, doomed to create a family legacy.

I'm the odd one. I'm the one in my family who didn't want the death penalty, the one who prayed that the right sentence would be reached...and perhaps it was. The DA offered a plea bargain of 15 years and the judge added another 5. I'd feel more comfortable with the process, I suppose, if they hadn't ultimately left me out of it. My brother left behind a father, mother, girlfriend and me, his only sibling. (not counting sundry aunts, uncles, cousins and one set of grandparents). Of his immediate family, only I was left out of the opportunity to make an impact statement. Only I was treated as a non-family member.

It's a lonely situation, thought not one where I wish for company. My father would be someone I could talk to about my brother, if our conversations weren't comprised solely of me holding him up. The aunts and uncles I shared with him are too...something...I don't even know the word, to really talk with me about it. Distant. I suppose. My mother never met this brother and has been as unsupportive in the matter as she could possibly be. Then again, she is my mother so that's to be expected. My husband tries, but doesn't understand that what I need to hear is not his thoughts on how the murderer should be punished, but I just need to be held while I cry a bit.

It's one of those things. Nobody knows what to say, and I get that. *I* don't know what to say. I guess though, it's a bit like infertility - where there are certain things that are pretty safe to say and others that aren't so good, even if not obvious. Ultimately, the dos boil down to the example set by my daughter and the don'ts to that set by my mom.

My daughter - "I'm sorry you're so upset. Come here, let me hold you." And you know what? She wrapped her little arms around me, rubbed my back and said "I love you. It's ok to cry."

My mom - "well, it's not like I knew him. What do you want me to say?" She's been cold, unfeeling, and downright rude about all of it. Not so much as an "I'm sorry."

The fact is, I lost my brother and he's never coming back. It's a thought that shrinks me in a way I can't explain, a hurt that makes me feel as if I've lost a part of me...because I have. There are many things about it that make me angry, but I realized recently that one of them is slightly flawed. One of the reasons I've been angry is the thought that my children would never know them, he'd never know them.

Then I realized there's a circle in some of this. As he lived so far away and we weren't allowed for some time to have much contact, many people who knew me didn't know about him. I lost a brother that didn't exist for me in the eyes of others. Sort of like my lost babies, they existed for me, were important to me and I loved them no matter how early the losses, no matter that some would think we never bonded.

He may not be spending time with my babies here on Earth, but maybe just maybe he's holding the babies I can't. I'd like to think so. Missing them all today.


Jessica (squawky) said...


MommaLlama said...

I think you are on to something relating it to infertility. If one has not gone through it, they really can't relate to the situation. They can't really sympathize with the mourner because it seems such a foreign concept. And like mourning the loss of one who never saw the world, a year isn't enough time to fully integrate the loss you suffering now.

You might simply tell your husband of your need to be held. While not dealing with the same situation, this is what I've had to do with my own husband who sometimes thought I was asking for his advice instead of his affection!