The reality of my brother’s death

Feb 17, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

My older brother passed away a few months ago. Because he lived in Los Angeles, and we are in Florida, his departure is a bit abstract. But today I got an invitation for his upcoming celebration of life, and now his death is real.

Before I got the invite, it was like his departure was a piece of clothing I hadn’t worn for a while – it was over there in the closet. I knew it was there, but I didn’t have to think about it too much. Now it is lying on the bed, and I can’t avoid it.

My older brother is gone.

He had a litany of health problems for the last five or six years and when he went in for a knee replacement surgery, the anesthesia was like an inferno, waiting to ignite inside his body. The doctors tried to adjust this and that but their attempts were futile. He was bounced in and out of the ICU, with an occasional reprieve, until his body imploded into delirium, never to return.

The departure of any family member is a reality check. There are fewer members to share the family history. Gone is another sibling who is unable to joke about who you were as a kid. Historical references to other family members can no longer be validated. And this reminds me of my mortality, as I march forward, knowing my inevitable demise is certain.

Although I am a fairly upbeat person, and I delight in humorous things, the reality of living is always with me. There’s a somberness to what I call living, the lessons that we learn, and the wisdom that we gain from everything that happens to us.

I’m not someone who puts on blinders, trying to hide from life‘s harder lessons and I’ve written about many of them. So on my counter is another lesson, addressing the reality of living, my brother’s handsome photo on an invitation when he was young and vibrant.

Soon I will have to face other family members and my brother’s peers, digesting all the emotions and memories, of a man that I loved very much, who is no longer with me on this earth. He will join the rest of my family members who have passed away and whose memories are still painful dents in my heart.

And although he is gone, he is far from forgotten.

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