Effects of the Fall...

>> Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When people die,

 floods of well-wishers come around to offer up their condolences

to those who have been left behind;

only nobody talks about what to do when everyone leaves.

You are left with an empty house

where the grief residing there becomes this living, breathing life-sucking

organism that hides in every nook and cranny of space.

Death blows a hole in the dynamics of relationships that self-help books cannot repair.

It sucker punches while violently invading your spirit.

It can make strong men weak and gentle women bitter.

I remember the day my brother died in random bits and pieces.

I remember that he gave me two dollars.

I remember his friend and the smell of alcohol on their breath.

They were only supposed to be going to the store.

 I remember watching television in the basement and hearing a knock on the door.

 I remember hearing my mom repeatedly ask two male voices where her son was.

They said that she needed to go to the hospital

and that they couldn’t give her any more information. 

I remember knowing that the situation was very bad, but nobody told me anything.

I remember standing in our kitchen as my brother’s cat wove in and out of my legs,

not really understanding the gravity of the situation

but trying to stuff down that gut feeling that something was indeed very wrong.

I remember my mom coming home and taking my sister and me into our bedroom.

 I remember the matter of fact way in which she told us our brother was dead.

She said three words: Mike. Is. Dead.

It was as if her mouth and vocal chords were doing all of the work.

She had already checked out.

I couldn’t touch him,

my dead brother.

His hands were huge.

They didn’t look real.

His ear didn’t look like it belonged to him.

Somebody had come in the night and put a giant’s ear in the place of his.

I watched his chest waiting for it to rise and fall,

but the pasty orange make-up on his face told me that this was not going to happen.

I knew without fully knowing, that I was looking at a vessel, and that vessel was empty.

 Sometimes you find yourself in a vortex of a moment.

A wormhole of sorts,

where the world buzzes and flits around you,

but time has somehow stopped…

for you.

This was one of those moments.

After the funeral everyone gathered in our backyard.

The weather was ideal for an outdoor wedding.

 It seemed odd to me that the weather seemed so…happy.

Where were the storm clouds?

Where was the rain?

Shouldn’t the heavens be crying out?

Didn’t the universe feel the need to lament with me?

There are certain events that take place that one would expect the ground to open up

and swallow them whole,

but it never happens.

The weather does exactly what God planned for it to do.

This was one of those moments that I realized that I was not at the center of the universe.

Life was going to play out how God intended it to,

and it was going to play out

regardless of whether or not I (or my brother) was there to witness it.

That’s a hard but necessary pill to swallow.

There’s wisdom in that pill.


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