Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The first Friday in Lent

I love my brother. I love him because he’s my brother, and I know that deep inside him, he’s a kind and loving person. We’re not close. When I hear about the fun others share with their siblings, it’s like listening to someone talk about their pony. I don’t have those experiences to share, and I never will.

It’s not for lack of trying, of course. I do try to bond with him occasionally, and it always ends up slightly awkward, as though I’m trying to do pony things with my cat. We’re not naturals at this sibling thing. I know we have no hobbies in common, and the few overlaps of music or movies we enjoy are only by coincidence. We share the same parents (though you’d never know that to look at us), and we both enjoy spending time with the woman he married.

A few years ago, he invited me to join him while he went to lift weights. At the time, I weighed in at a reasonable 130lbs. His very first lift, the very beginning of his warm-up, was 140lbs. I had to help him into his squat briefs. The last time he sat on me, I was probably 18 and he was 22. This was the closest I had been to his ass since then, and it was the closest I had ever intentionally been. I will never do that again.

My brother and I are just different. To see us, we don’t appear to be related. To speak to us, you’d never guess we grew up in the same home at the same time with the same people. He lives in a city roughly 75% larger than mine and prides himself on the extent of his redneckness. Given the choice, he would move to a smaller town and I would move to a larger one. He shoots squirrels with a BB gun. I take photos of them as they eat out of the compost bin. He eats copious amounts of meat in small periods of time. I’d do anything for kale. He does powerlifting. I do yoga and Pilates. His grammar and vocabulary have deteriorated since he left home. I’ve worked to improve mine as much as possible. He likes the Dixie Chicks because they’re hot. I like their harmonies. He’s into motorcycle rallies, deer hunting, and the Old West. I prefer small boats, big lakes, and the Appalachian Trail.

This Sunday is the first anniversary of our mother’s death. Paul, Hope, Hannah, Brock, Brooke, and I are spending it at Dad’s house. Hope is working tonight, so Paul invited Brooke and me to head over to their place tonight. We’d leave Brooke home with the kids, and Paul and I would go out to see one of his favorite bands play.

Me: “Brooke has a meeting, so we wouldn’t be able to make it until 11.”
P: “That’s okay! They’re on until 1:30 or 1:45.”
Me: !!
P: “All of the big bands play three sets about 45 minutes apart.”
Me: “I have never heard of this.”
P: “They do! They’re great, Em. You’re going to love it. They’ll go from playing, like, Pantera to Pink Floyd just flawlessly. If you close your eyes, it’s just like listening to the [insert Pink Floyd album of which the author has never heard] CD.”
Me: “Um, wow?”
P: “Yeah!”

How is it that I’m the one who thinks that 2:00A.M. is too freaking late to be out, and yet, he’s the one with the children? Sadly (?), Brooke’s meeting is extended until 9:00P.M., and we wouldn’t make it to Paul’s place until midnight. As it is, it will be past my bedtime when I get to Dad’s at 11.

Happy anniversary, Mom.


At 1:33 PM, Blogger portia said...

You and your family are in my prayers, Em.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger frog said...

You and B been in my heart and prayers all weekend, Emilin.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger frog said...

Um, "have been."

At 8:57 PM, Blogger FractalGirl said...

Emilin, while my sister and I are more alike than you and Paul, we aren't that much alike, in philosophy or mannerisms -- though we do have the same coloring and the same mouth. Sometimes I just look at her in amazement at the things that come out of her mouth. Anyway, my sympathies re: Paul's ass and that contraption you helped him pull on. (!!)

The best to you and Brooke, and both families right now.


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