It has been five months, 21 days and about 13 hours since I received the worst phone call of my life. What everyone wants to know is how I am doing. What everyone wants to hear is that I am doing better. That I am healing.
I usually say that I am doing okay, while shrugging and avoiding eye contact.
I am not okay.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever be okay again. On the other hand–maybe “okay” is all I will ever be. Something changed, and I changed, and I will never be the same. My brother’s death has changed me in ways that I couldn’t have anticipated. The sadness is intense and overbearing, yes, but there is so much more to it than that. His death has changed the way I see the world, the relationships I have with others, my faith, my concept of self and of family, my mothering, my worldview, my ability to empathize, my understanding of the metaphysics of this world and my connection to it, my concept of our corporeal selves and the human soul…
It is as if, looking at my life, one could see a large, angry line diving my life into two segments. There is life before this loss, and life after. But the two are very different. February 29, 2016 was, in part, a death of my own. Part of me died. Part of my history, my identity, my innocence, my deniability of the existence of certain problems, my hope, my faith in God, and the ideas I had of my future all died that day. Rest in peace, sister. I am that person no longer. Now I struggle with every remnant of the world that has remained unchanged. Shouldn’t the sky look different in this new world? Some days I will pick up an object–my keys, for example, and wonder if I have ever truly seen them before. How is it that they still exist, this remnant of the other world? They came from a world in which my brother was alive, and yet here they are, defying me with their normalcy. How dare you remain the same? I will think. Because I feel as though I live in the smoking embers of what was once my life, perhaps I would be happy to see everything warped and melted, showing signs of the fire we have been through.
Well, not happy, but…more comfortable?
My fear is twofold: that the world looks the same because the fire just isn’t over, or that it looks the same because it was always such a wreck, and I am just now noticing.