I talk about my brother a lot. I write about him a lot. I don't know if this is right or wrong; but doing this is cathartic to me. I am not trying to make him some sort of martyr. I acknowledge that he wasn't perfect. That he indeed made many mistakes. With that being said, I have mentioned before that as time passes, I worry that people are going to forget him, more specifically, that I am going to forget him. Talking about him helps me feel like his memory will live on. So, I will continue to do so because that is how I grieve.
I just finished watching Resurrection. I am not sure if it was the best choice but what is done is done, I guess. To give a brief rundown, if you haven't seen it, the first episode is about a young boy, who had passed away in an accident 32 years prior, that shows up at his parents doorstep. It proceeds to delve further into all the emotions that overcome his family. They question their emotions. They questions their sanity. They question God. Everything they believed to be true has vanished. Seeing this got me thinking, what would I do, what would I say if Ethan showed up today?
Don't alert the authorities, I am not having delusions that this could actually happen but I think it's a very human tendency to think about how we would react, given this opportunity. If only we had one more day....one more hour...one more minute.......one more conversation, with the ones we have lost.
But, what would I say? Would I even be able to speak. Would the last five years of grief manifest in anger? Would I just bawl? Would he make fun of me for just bawling? (YES, yes he would). Would I direct-admit myself to a psych unit? I can imagine I would spend the entire time questioning what was right in front of me as I have a tendency to do with most aspects of my life.
More importantly, I wonder what he would say....Would he walk up the drive way of the farm with a Marlboro Red in his hand singing some ridiculous song? (Guaranteed). Maybe he would take a spin on the Allis and play his infamous air guitar, hay season style. I do know he would have that lopsided, goofy-ass grin and shout, "What's up, hooker?"
Would he recognize the people that any of us have become in the five years since he left us? All of us essentially the same yet so wholly different that some days we don't recognize ourselves. Would he even like the people that we have become? Of course, he would.... he liked everyone.
I wonder if he would ask why I only visit his grave on his birthday and on mine. My guess is, he knows that I have shared a beer with him on both of our birthdays since I was 18 years old and come hell or high water, that tradition will continue. I am also betting that he knows that I don't connect with him at the cemetery. That plot of land is not my brother. That is not him and I do not believe for one second that his life can be condensed to some eight by four foot piece of land.
He would confirm that mom and dad are still nuttier than shit....at least some things will always be constant. (Just kidding)
He would laugh and tell us his stories. He would fire up that damn grill of his and have some ribs going in no time flat. He would call up everybody and their brother and carry on like no time had passed at all, because that was just who he was.
Regardless of the hypothetical questions that would be endless, given the opportunity, it is important to remember that we can talk to the ones we lost any time we want....and every so often, if we are lucky, they answer us back.