This post  may ramble and meander, but I need to get this out…I lost my baby brother. He passed away last night. I got a call from my younger sister at 8 am this morning. She was barely intelligible and panicked. I had to calm her down for her to make sense to me. The words were paralyzing. Reuben is dead. I was in disbelief and she in partial denial as well. We needed to check, to make sure no one had made a mistake, it was our only hope to avoid the horrible reality of acceptance. She wanted me to call his mother in law, afraid to ask herself. I agreed. Not two minutes later my older sister called. The moment her name showed up on my phone my heart stopped beating. She and I haven’t spoken since January, over some bullshit. I hesitated for a second, somehow thinking if I didn’t answer, it wouldn’t be true. Denial is a powerful state of mind. It flies in the face of undisputed logic. It is the final step before that emptiness of pain. I spoke to her. She confirmed it. I was confused and awkward. The conversation was brief. I sat in silence processing the meaning of it. I felt guilt. His birthday had just passed and he called me and I didn’t answer. I was in a shitty mood. I would call him back. I thought he was drunk again and I would deal with him when I was in the right state of mind. I messaged him on Facebook that I would call him back. I didn’t. I got distracted and forgot. Now I’m upset with myself because all I have left of our final communication is a shit Facebook post. It stares at me shouting my impotent attempt at being a brother. I am in a state of confused numbness, weaving in and out of empty sadness. Reflecting. Hating myself for my indifference. I am reminded of my best friend Steve. We always spoke on his birthday until the last one. I didn’t call. I was going through a divorce. Distracted yet again. He left me a voice mail asking me if I was still alive, as a joke on my situation. They were the last words of his I would ever hear..Am I alive? The inescapable irony of that one sentence haunts me. Am I?

I spoke to my niece. She found him in his bedroom on the floor. I am haunted by thoughts of his last moments. Was he in pain? Was he trying to get help? Did he suffer? I try to shut those thoughts out..too painful. I cry. I continue. I must. I am told to be strong, but I only go on because that’s all that can be done. I cannot escape my emptiness. I am a shell pretending to be me, struggling not to become consumed in thoughts of  all those I have lost that I love. I am comforted by the words of people who barely know me. It doesn’t stop the pain but it makes me feel necessary. I need that now..purpose. I need that…

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