I've had a special struggle this past year since 'coming out' about my brother molesting me as a child. It has been a roller coaster of disgust, hatred, and horrendously persistent self-loathing. When I finally stopped lying to myself about what he did I suddenly had to completely reevaluate my relationship with a brother who's no longer on this earth. I used to mourn a lost sibling while harbouring secret feelings of shame. Then the lies ended and I had no idea if I should mourn, or celebrate, or hate.
I chose hate, I think. I usually do - angry emotions are much easier to confront. They're useful, perhaps, in buffering you until enough time has passed that you're distanced from the event. And so, this past year has been my year of absolutely hating him.
I'm not sure why, but I opened the police report today for the first time in years. It has 1268 pages, and back in 2009 I spent months going through about 1230 of them before it finally overwhelmed me and I quit. I feel very weak today - a weakness that has been building over the past two months as I've struggled in a life and a job in which I do not recognize myself. I always come back to my dead family when I'm weak. Maybe it's the catharsis of the confrontation of emotions, or maybe it's by reminding myself of the omnipotent woman in me that overcame so much, but I find a renewal of strength in coming back to my dead family. Perhaps I thought today might be a good day to finish those last 30-40 pages.
In the report are the three pictures of my family members. The pictures that today I barely remembered but had once been all but burnt into my retinas. The pictures of their bloodied and burnt faces that were used way back when to identify the bodies. They're massive in the report; nearly ten times the size of every other page, so if you don't expect them and zoom out in anticipation, they kick you full-force in the gut. I have seen this report so many times that I know exactly when to zoom out.
So there was my brother: green eyes half open, trail of blood from his mouth, frozen in the snow. He was 23 - younger than me now. There was my object of a year and a lifetime of hatred and disgust: eyes half open, blood in his teeth, snow in his hair.
That poor boy.
Oh, that poor boy.
He must have been so scared, so drenched in fear and anxiety and pain. He had such hopes, and such talent, and such a love for life and for people. And our Daddy took that all away from him. That poor, poor boy. Whatever mistakes he made as a brother, he did not deserve that. He did not deserve what he got.
What happened has become so factual now - so perfectly scripted and mundane. God help me, but I had actually forgotten what had really happened that day. I had forgotten that people were stabbed and burnt. I had forgotten that they had spoken, and screamed, and fought. I've been so entrenched in what I have gone through that I had completely forgotten what they themselves went through. My family, my darlings.
Maybe I will never forgive, and I believe that is okay. But it is time I stopped the hate.
Not one of them deserves my hate.
-- Perhaps me least of all.