My Brother

I was supposed to post this on the 17th of this month. On September 17th, 1980 my brother was killed in a car wreck. He was eighteen.

This thought began because of a post from Martha. She had discussed her brothers death and that post has constantly remained with me mentally. As bad as this sounds, I came to the realization that I really haven’t thought about my brother for years. And like Martha, I never discuss my personal life with anyone so this post is odd for me.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in the high school cafeteria having lunch when our preacher came in to pull me out of school. I didn’t even think anything about it because I was so delighted that I was getting out of that hell hole early. (As you can tell by my great grammar and spelling skills, school and I did not get along at all.)

I sat down in in the passenger seat of his car in front of our school and that was when he told me. I don’t remember much after that.

There are few things I recall, like seeing the funeral director at our home going over the details with my father. The only reason this stuck out was because the funeral director said something and chuckled and my father just sat there straight faced. I know I was thinking how stupid could this guy be trying to say something humorous?

The only part of the funeral I remember is when my sister came to the viewing. She isn’t my real sister, but one of my brother’s ex-girlfriends. She was always someone special to me and she became like a sister ever since my brother’s death. I latched on her as soon as I saw her and my mind was screaming please don’t leave, but she said she had to and I couldn’t blame her for that.

And that’s it. I never even went back to the grave until a couple years ago when I helped my mother change out the flowers.

Unlike Martha, I never considered my brother and I close. He was born in 1961 and I was born in 1966. Five years doesn’t sound like much, but when you are kids it is a huge gap. We got along most of the time when we were younger but not so much as we got older. I was starting to resent my brother to some degree because I got tired of the punching, bullying, or whatever you want to call it. I don’t want to give the wrong impression here because this wasn’t an all out abusive beating fest. There was only once that things went to far where he intentionally hurt me.

As the years went by, I was probably around 18, I was hanging out at “my sister’s” house when the subject of my brother came around. She told me she remembered him picking on me. She said that he really did care about me and he told her he was trying to toughen me up. This threw me for a loop. I had spent years thinking he didn’t give a rat’s ass about me for the most part and now I found out that he did, and his way of showing me was to bully me.

Might as well add confusion to “threw me for me loop”.

If you have ever watched “Saving Private Ryan” you might remember a part where Ryan says he can’t see his brothers face. Tom Hanks tells him something along the lines that he shouldn’t try to focus on his face but instead think of a context that he was part of. It is a lot like that with me. I can remember the good times and the bad that I had with my bother. He is more of a shadow than something I can see. I don’t even know if this is normal, but when I see my brother’s graduation picture it is almost like looking at a stranger. Why is that?

I am not even sure the purpose of this post. I guess I just wanted to say something and I did. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Martha

That must have been a terrible time for your family. And despite the fact that you weren’t close, I’m sure it had an impact on you. There was a significant age gap between you, which certainly didn’t help you be closer, but I wonder what would have happened later on in life when the age gap wouldn’t matter anymore. Perhaps you would have grown closer. In any case, I am sorry about your brother. His accident was very tragic, and he was much too young for his life to end.

Abel

Sorry to hear about your brother. It’s always very painful when we lose a loved one, whether close or not. I’m not certain why the mind tends to block out tragic events, maybe a coping mechanism. I lost a cousin a few years back, we were the same age but not very close. Didn’t see much of one another, except for the occasional family gathering. Either way, I also tend to block out his death until the anniversary of his passing rolls around and then it makes me very sad. The human psyche is very complex and everyone deals with losses differently. I’m certain you and your brother would have grown closer given the opportunity, regardless of age.

WebDebris

Thanks Abel, I appreciate it. It may have very well been a coping mechanism because everything seems to have a grey fog associated with it. I knew he was there when I was a kid but yet it seems like he wasn’t.

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