I ran into an old childhood friend yesterday, who expressed sympathy to me about my brother "Butch". I knew what he was about to say, that he had died. I asked Frankie when he heard, and he said "oh, 2005, maybe 2006." Frankie is an African American, and it's not in their culture to be alienated from family members, so he seemed shocked when I told him I hadn't spoken to either of my brothers since my father died in 1995.
I'm not sorry to hear he's gone. Something told me after a 2 and-a-half-pack a day habit of Marlboro Reds and never using sunscreen on repeated exposure to the Jersey Shore sun, some sort of Cancer would be after him.
I have many reasons not to feel grief about this, but one reason to feel anger. I was never told he died. Regardless that we were mortal enemies since my birth, when he was sixteen years old,
I thought I might have recieved a death notice in the mail, at least.
I called my brother Jon's "domestic partner", Bernard and left a message for him at work. I told the young woman who answered the phone if he would please confirm that one of my brothers had died. Poor thing, she sounded flustered.
Bernard never called.
Apart from Butch's success in screwing me out of a third of my father's estate, and the trauma he relentlessly inflicted on me while growing up, I have to find a way to let the hatred go now.
I've been saving something for my own memorial service, if there ever will be one. There is a song by Green Day called (ironically) "Good Riddance (Time of your Life)" In deference to my parents, who I'm jealous as H&%# that HE got to see again before I did, I'm going to quote a passage of it here. It's as close to a prayer as I can come.
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where you go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
Billy Joe Armstrong