It’s been a little longer than a month since my brother passed away. When I first heard the news, I felt like I had immediately forgotten him; the sound of his voice, the shape of his face. It was as if my mind had washed away any memory of him to save me the heartache of remembering. But as quickly as they had disappeared, the memories came flooding back, playing on a loop in my head, like a film projected on a blank screen.
There are days when I feel as if I will never recover and I cry relentlessly. I cry more than I ever realized I was capable of crying. I cry for myself, for having lost my brother, my best friend, and the only person I felt ever understood my neuroses. I cry because my brother was only 28 years old and had endured so much. He was sick and an addict and then he wasn’t either of those things. I cry because when I think of him it isn’t always positive. He could be a real asshole and he could be selfish and his words hurtful, but when he was good, he was wonderful. He was funny and charming and smart and protective over his little sister.
I cry because things are beginning to seem normal. Not having him here is beginning to feel ordinary and there are people I encounter who will never know that I have a brother. I cry because there are moments when I actually forget that he is gone and I reach for the phone to call him, not realizing what I am doing. How could I forget something so monumental and so fucking awful? I cry when I hear songs on the radio because my mind cannot comprehend that he had heard this song and yet it is still being played. Doesn’t the DJ know that he’s gone? There are only two types of songs: before Kevin and after. There are only two types of anything, anymore.
I cry because I know that in spite of his absence, he would truly want me to be happy, but I don’t know how to do that without feeling intolerable guilt, as if I have left him behind. We always talked of getting out of “here”, together, making sure that the other was taken care of. He never even had a chance.
And now I cry because I know that although with every thought of him and every picture and every mention of his name my heart breaks a bit more, that slowly but surely the pain won’t be so unbearable and those broken pieces will find their way to reunite with patchwork and glue until my heart is finally whole, again. It will be a scarred mess where my intact heart once was, but it will be enough to continue beating and that’s all I really need; something to keep me going.