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almost a decade and a half

my brother has been dead for 14 years now.

it's hard to fathom sometimes, you know? 14 years. i was a child then... of course, according to most of the world i was an adult. 18 years, two months, eight days. i had reached the age of majority. i could buy lotto tickets. i could vote. i could sign my own absence notes from school. but i was still a child -- and child or adult or whatever, i was completely unprepared for his death.

14 years later, i still feel unprepared.

i was unprepared for the way a person -- a living, breathing college student with a fondness for computers and tomato sauce -- became a footnote.

i'm unprepared for the way it still stings when i tell strangers i'm an only child because i don't want to explain how i had a brother and he died, and oh my god, isn't it so painfully sad but it was so long ago so we're all properly adjusted now, thanks.

i will always be unprepared for that bittersweet tinge when i say the name paul and i mean my brother instead of my child.

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