Mom asked me the other day why I haven’t written about you in a while. My answer was simple, instant, truthful.
“Because writing about him means I need to think about him.”
Perhaps it sounds callous, but it is candid. I’ve become so accustomed to not thinking about you that it’s more a default way to function. Does that mean you no longer matter? Does that mean I’m used to you being no more? Does that mean I no longer wish you were still a part of my life?
The answer to all those questions is a resounding NO. Just because I don’t write about you much, doesn’t mean you no longer exist.
Next month will mark 4 years since you passed away. That quantification baffles me. 4 years is seemingly a long time, and it truly amazes me how we’ve adapted to your absence. We have filled in the gaps you left behind as best we could, and seem to be moving along now at a steady pace. The hiccups are few and far in between, like when Ayana is at a birthday party and one of the games involves the kids bringing along their daddies, and she quietly sits it out, painfully aware that hers is no longer alive.
But what I said to Mom holds true. I don’t consciously think about you much. Why? Because it’s still more painful than pleasant, it still inspires more conflict in my mind than any sense of serenity or contentment. After 4 years, people would assume I have come to accept you’re gone. But I am not.
It’s not okay that my big brother is no longer alive. It’s not okay that when I have a bad day personally, professionally or just for no reason at all, I have to resort to trying to find calm by listening to something you liked. I can’t bitch to you about random, nonsensical crap the way I had imagined I’d be doing at 24. Instead, I have to make do by wondering and assuming what you’d say. I have to think. I have to think about what you would have done rather than having the luxury to interact with you in the present. I have to think. I have to go back into the past, because that is all we have of you now. And that’s not okay.
I am not ‘at peace’ with it. I am not okay. You are dead and it is still unfair. That’s the simple truth but that’s not something I can voice aloud to Mom. Perhaps, she will read this and understand and not ask again.