Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Big Brother

When I talk about who I've lost, I often say things like 'when my parents died,' or I refer to myself as an 'orphan' - terms that, by their nature, tend to disregard the fact that I've lost a brother as well. A couple of months ago I was talking to a friend who has lost three family members to suicide. She mentioned that while she's been able to come to terms with the loss of two of them, the loss of the third is something that she just cannot face.

I'm honestly not sure if I had had this explicit thought process before I heard those words from her, but I told her that it was easier for me to face the fact that my mother and father are dead than my brother. It is absolutely more painful to me to have lost my parents than my brother (I love you, but I have to be honest), but it is absolutely more unreal that my brother is dead than my parents. I knew that at some point in my life my parents would die, and as they had children late in their lives I even knew that it would probably be earlier in my life than for most of my peers.

But my brother died at 23. That's my surviving brother's age, now. It'll be my age in just over a year. My parents had stories; they had lifetimes. They, unlike certain unnamed teen stars, had plenty from which to write autobiographies. But my big brother? He had nothing but the future. His story was cut off before he had written anything more than his introduction. The significance and consequences of that I am not ready to face.

So I grieve my parents.

I said to my friend about my brother:

That's the nice thing: he's dead. His story has ended. Nothing more will be added on. So whether I manage to begin mourning him tomorrow or in ten years, I won't have missed anything. He's frozen in time, waiting for me to gather the strength to face his death.

I will, eventually. For the time being, though, I do ignore him. Because I have to - the instances in which I do try to face his absence sting far, far too much still. But one day, oniichan, I promise I will mourn you.


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