Mar 272013

On March 25th, my brother, Adam, passed away. He was thirty-one. He had a seizure and choked to death on his vomit. No one was with him. His roommates found his body the next morning.

My brother and I weren’t close. Our family dynamics could fill a book. He was an asshole who loved to push people’s buttons, especially if they were upset. He had twin children with his wife who divorced him six months into the marriage. He actually finished college which is something I never did. He didn’t like to read but he loved Star Trek. He had hundreds of problems but rarely did any sort of work to overcome them. He preferred to be the most pitied person in the room but would pick on others in a heartbeat. I never understood him.

He tried to commit suicide a few years ago. I think I did most of my mourning then. The examining doctor at his death didn’t like how much of his seizure medication was in his body so they did an autposy. We’ll know if he tried to kill himself this time in a few weeks. In the meantime, we are in a quantum state of him dying purely by chance or by suicide.

The funeral is tomorrow. My mom didn’t want to wait for me to make it to North Carolina to have it. She’s a mess and already in the process of canonizing him. I am going to miss my brother’s funeral and I honestly don’t know I feel about that. The closing date for my house is April 3rd and there is so much left to do.  The fact that my mom wants to have the funeral before I can get there feels like a rejection of me but I know logically that she just wants to get it over with as soon as possible.

“I didn’t think you would want to come,” my mom said. Proving once again, my family doesn’t know me at all.
It might be for the best. Adam always had the sympathy of the family. His seizures made life hard. His step-father who idolized him and spoiled him did not prepare Adam for the real world. When the family gathers, their favorite topic is how awful Adam’s life is. My Grandmother likes to say that Adam and my step-father’s cruelty to me and my sister made us tougher and therefore, we benefited from it but Adam being spoiled meant he would have a rougher life and therefore, he deserves our sympathy. I am not sure I can go through a funeral with that theme. 

Mostly I am in shock. I’m the oldest sibling. I have watched Adam his entire life. He was a spoiled child, the favorite of my step-father. I have watched my brother when he was six, blackmail my mother with threats of telling my step-father whatever minor crime she had done in his eyes. I have watched my brother delight in seeing me punished as a teenager. I have watched my brother mock the shit out of my sister for her bad relationships without ever trying to help her. I have watched him get married to an awful woman who literally divorced him days after she got pregnant. I have watched him bend over backwards trying to provide for his twin children. I have watched him feel sorry for himself but almost never do anything to help himself. I have watched him his entire life and I almost never related to him.

This Friday I am driving up to see my mom and sister. I want to be there for them. I want to be a better brother and son than Adam ever was.

  4 Responses to “”

  1. I’m sure they could use your support. You may need some as well.

  2. I’m so sorry, Shon. I know about struggling with difficult family relationships, and how that complicates both actual and impending loss.

    I’m glad you are sharing your life with someone who love you and believes in you.


  3. To continue from your last sentence,

    at the same time, don’t beat yourself up or consider yourself ‘unworthy’ if your immediate family don’t react fondly on Friday or sincerely appreciate your efforts.

    You’ve got a lot on your place but of course wanting to be there at the last sending off is important, I hope despite the family politics, it goes relatively smooth.

    Also, please watch your own health/anxiety levels too.
    PPS: I’m sure your wife has got your back :)

  4. Thank you everyone. It has been mind-bogglingly hard.

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