Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hello from Michigan

Hello again, dear readers.

I made it up to Michigan on Tuesday night, after a day of impromptu traveling.  The question people keep asking is, "How are you doing?"  And the answer to that is I'm here, with my family, and we're taking it one day at a time.  I'm glad to be with my family--it really does feel better to be here with them, talking, crying, and remembering my brother.  We're in a state of shock and sadness; everything since Sunday night feels like some weird dream.  I find myself going through the motions, yet I feel as though I am watching myself perform, like a ghost hovering over the action.

The sudden loss of my brother has dwarfed any other challenges that the year has given me.  I think about my break-up with Matt, and I feel grateful that it was just a break-up.  Matt is still here, with me in the land of the living.  He was, in fact, one of the first people I called because few people understand how complex and difficult the relationship with my brother Scott was.  I think about the uncertainty that my work life has posed, and it seems like business as usual.  To lose a loved one, suddenly, tragically, heart-breakingly, makes everyday life seem like such a gift.  Now, I'm not saying that a person isn't entitled to feel sad about a break-up or anxious about a job, but death is so final.  There are no do-overs.  There is no chance now to tell Scott that I loved him, that I understood how hard life was for him, that I knew he worked at loving us and letting us love him.  Some of us come into this life and we have a relatively easy time of it, with healthy minds and bodies.  But some of us face extraordinary challenges that stand in the way of our well-being, and Scott was one of those people.  To love Scott was to know his pain and try to love him anyway.

The line that keeps running through my head this week is, "Love is work."  It is work to keep a family going, to build bridges over regrets and mistakes.  It is work to love someone who has broken your heart.  I face each day now, absolutely certain that if we can love each other and be kind to one another, then the day has been a good one.  Intimacy is a dance: sometimes we dance together, sometimes we dance alone, and sometimes we're just one link in a giant circle of love, swaying together and remembering the one who is now missing.  I hope--I believe--that Scott knew he was a cherished link in our family, no matter how much darkness he felt in his mind.  I think we may have been the sunshine that kept him going for so long, and I hope that wherever he is now, he is at peace.  We miss him every day.


  1. "Love is work." Such a beautiful reminder in the midst of such a sad time. Your strength astounds me. <3

    1. Thank you, Chrissy. I think sometimes we forget that relationships require a lot of us, whether it's in the everyday care of each other, forgiveness, or trying to keep our bonds strong despite the miles. And we all love in different ways--that's what I'm trying to remember the most.

  2. I remember feeling, as you put it, like a ghost hovering over the action when my dad passed away over a decade ago. Love is work, but so much of it is private and unseen, that I think sometimes it becomes easy to forget that. I'm sending you big hugs and hope that soon you no longer feel as if you're watching yourself perform.