my beautiful brother Chris died on February 21, 2012.
i blog here to stay sane. i howl to thee, internets.
14. The word obliterate comes from the Latin obliterare. Ob means against; literare means letter or script. A literal translation is being against the letters. It was impossible for you to write me a letter, so you made me a list instead. It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.
15. It’s wrong that this is required of you. It’s wrong that your son died. It will always be wrong.
16. The obliterated place is equal parts destruction and creation. The obliterated place is pitch black and bright light. It is water and parched earth. It is mud and it is manna. The real work of deep grief is making a home there.
17. You have the power to withstand this sorrow. We all do, though we all claim not to. We say, “I couldn’t go on,” instead of saying we hope we won’t have to.
18. More will be revealed. Your son hasn’t yet taught you everything he has to teach you. He taught you how to love like you’ve never loved before. He taught you how to suffer like you’ve never suffered before. Perhaps the next thing he has to teach you is acceptance. And the thing after that, forgiveness.
19. Forgiveness bellows from the bottom of the canoe. There are doubts, dangers, unfathomable travesties. There are stories you’ll learn if you’re strong enough to travel there. One of them might cure you.
20. When my son was six he said, “We don’t know how many years we have for our lives. People die at all ages.” He said it without anguish or remorse, without fear or desire. It has been healing to me to accept in a very simple way that my mother’s life was 45 years long, that there was nothing beyond that. There was only my expectation that there would be—my mother at 89, my mother at 63, my mother at 46. Those things don’t exist. They never did.
21. Think: my son’s life was 22 years long. Breathe in.
22. Think: my son’s life was 22 years long. Breathe out.
23. There is no 23.
My brother’s life was 26 years long. Breathe in.
My brother’s life was 26 years long. Breathe out.
There is no 27.