My beautiful sister & her lost boys.
Well, God knows, I can't turn this into a post about "me" but I am sad & grieving & I have the shittiest cold in the world & a fever of 102 & I can barely breathe & I'm all snotty & disgusting & my chest feels like it's filled with rocks.
But that may just be grief.
My nephew died tonight. My sweet kind funny trusting nephew left on another journey, & we are all heartbroken. I thought the odds were on his side, seeing as how his younger brother, Todd, died over 30 years ago. I mean, what are the odds of losing TWO sons. My brother-in-law jokes that whenever he flies, he carries a bomb in his suitcase, because what are the odds that TWO people will be carrying a bomb.
That's kind of how I felt about Joe. My sister had already paid her dues in the Lost Child department. It seemed impossible that it would happen again.
Even when we stood by Joe's bed & heard stuff like "hospice" & "brain stem damage" & "so-small-a-chance-of-surviving-as-to-be-practically-nil" we still hoped for the Big Giant Miracle.
And it didn't happen.
And, just like when Todd died, we have no idea how to properly cope with it, except now we realize there IS no way to properly cope with losing a child. Doesn't exist. "Proper" & "grief" don't even belong in the same sentence. I think wailing is in order. Heavy drinking, maybe. Staring blankly into space for weeks. Asking Why Why Why over & over, even knowing there will be no Deep Voice answering your question, unless maybe it comes to you in a dream.
If you ever sleep again.
When Todd died, we all fell into our roles. His broken & grieving mom & dad took down all his pictures, his dad turned to drugs, his mom read Kubler-Ross & tried to cope with the chaos of their lives & the fact that she still had two small children to raise.
We siblings -- we cried, but only alone. We darkly joked, which is our way, about death & blindness & stuff that we couldn't talk seriously about without being scared shitless at all the potential disasters waiting around corners & in dark rooms & Ford Pintos.
Our mom -- Todd's Grandma -- told me (when she was falling into old age & trying to dodge senility) that the worst thing that ever happened in her whole life was Todd dying, that she never got over it, & never would.
And now I am sure that she is with Joey. Mom being impatient, she was probably standing in the corner of the hospital room when Mercy stepped in & took him away from his suffering. I am sure she held her arms out & pulled him close. Joe always was her favorite, being the oldest AND a boy. The first grandchild always holds a special place in the heart of the grandparents. And no, I did NOT read this off a bumpersticker, I know this because I'm a first grandchild and...hey...entire photo album of JUST me!
And of Joe. Tomorrow I'll put up Memorial Photos on Facebook. Maybe it will help us all feel better, seeing his life, from little blond kid thru acid-washed jeans teen thru Mullet-Wearing 20-something (& Joe did have the World's Best Mullet) thru happily-in-love-finally Almost 40.
I wish you'd made 40, Joe. And 50, damn it! 60, even! (I read a quote once that said "60 is just like 30 except with a case of really bad flu." I wish you'd had a chance to find out if that's true.)
I know you're at peace now & with your grandma who is gazing at you all adoringly, like she always did. Meanwhile, we're all left here, once again broken, seeing you in shaky 16mm & trying to figure out how to manage without you. (And if this sounds all Hallmark-y & maudlin, too bad, I'm grieving & have a fever.)
Mom -- give him a big hug from all of us & tell him we miss him so much already! Yeah, Mom...we miss you, too. NO, I didn't just add that as a last thought, we DO miss you...Granted, you were kind of annoying those last few years, but...Mom! I don't want to argue! Just love him, okay! Yeah...I KNOW you're good at that. I love you, Mom! I love you, Joe!
Oh...and P.S.: Joe, could you remind your grandma that we could use a little celestial help with our lottery picks...