Saturday, November 28, 2009

3 Weeks, 4 Days

I was told that Thanksgiving was going to be tough. I didn't really believe it. I had had only 3 Thanksgivings with Warren in the last 20 years, so why would this one be different.
I was wrong. The two days prior I had been able to wake-up happy again. I reveled in the passing of the strongest waves of sadness. I hoped that the worst had passed. Yet, something about knowing that I'd never get to have my brother with me on Thanksgiving crushed me. It tossed me back into the state I had been those first few weeks after his death. I just held onto Marc and cried. I had a glass of wine and watched Super Troopers to keep me from being a sobbing blob of sorrow. Another factor I was not expecting was the exhaustion. The strong emotions wipe me out. I felt dizzy, barely able to walk from my office to the den.
To treat the exhaustion enough to make it to my father's on Thanksgiving I downed a Rockstar. It worked, but left me amped up for bedtime. Marc's first Thanksgiving with my family went well, aside from the general sad mood.
Yesterday the sorrow lingered. Only today did I wake up feeling better. I crave Normal, yet what is Normal now? Can I say that I'm thankful that I didn't see Warren every day? That he a constant presence - so now the new Normal looks a lot like the old Normal. Part of me feels that my grief is out of proportion; we weren't *that* close, how can I feel *that* sad. Like I have no right.
I feel what I feel. Today I feel OK. I'm up to distracting myself with the Christmas Card list.
Let's hope I can manage to feel this OK until Christmas. I suspect it will be as bad as Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2009


On Nov. 3rd, my big brother, Warren, took his own life.
It doesn't make sense. I'm not sure it ever will. Just a week prior he was off happily hiking in the mountains with his wife. Then he crashed and we couldn't save him.
The pain of losing him runs deeper than I thought possible. And I hadn't seen him since July. I did get a voicemail that I'm going to have saved. He said, "oh, and I Love You." at the end. We weren't close and that doesn't seem to matter. He was supposed to grow old with me. He was supposed to tell me how to better raise my kids (not that he'd know, having decided long ago that he wouldn't have any - and I don't have any yet).
Now I have a new marker... no longer does my time start with the birth of Christ. I mark things by his death. On Tuesday it was, He's been dead 1 week. Today it is 10 days since he died. Soon we'll have 1 month. After my birthday, it will be about 4 months. People keep saying, "the holidays will be tough." and "It gets easier with time." I'm still waiting for the 24 hours without tears maker.
At first I didn't want it to get easier. I wanted to hold on to the pain, as anything less might mean I want or even feel OK with forgetting him. Then a wonderful man suggested I try to think of how Warren would want me to remember him. And I also heard Warren whispering, "Jen, don't be so emotional. Be rational." He'd be so critical of me if I were to be trapped in darkness from his death. I don't think he ever understood how I could be so distressed over relationships or emotional things.
This morning was the first time I could wake up and not be sad. For the first few days, waking and sleeping were the hardest times - followed by driving. Those were the times I had to be alone. After a week, the grief moved into daily things. I tried to go to work - just for some distraction. However, my mind has been utterly unable to focus. I forget things. I start something and am so easily distracted. I don't know how I was able to finish the Open Enrollment at the office. My lists of To Do are so basic, I nearly include, "brush your teeth" on them. Don't ask me what the date is, I have no idea.
The shock has worn off and so far I'm stuck with the thought, "I want my brother back!" fills the pauses in the day. At those times I try to return to how he'd want me to remember him. He'd want me to remember how he took me to breakfast after my last break-up. He wanted to comfort me, but, for once, I didn't need it. I was touched that he tried. I remember our lunches where we'd but heads over our life choices... he thought I should be more like him, I thought he should be more like me. He had such a laser focus on life. My laser didn't have a focus, more it resembled the night sky in a planetarium. I have always struggled with a little jealousy and a little disdain for how he so early on found his passion and then did only that. Reading the blog will memories of him, he was so lucky to be able to fill his days with exactly his passion - Science & computers. That's all he needed. He never struggled with the question, "What should I do with my life?" He knew and he acted - and science has been blessed by the results.
I love you, too Warren.
I wish I never knew of your scientific achievements. I wish I just knew the brother who I loved and disparaged. The genius who I could feel superior to when I called to remind you to get a card & gift for Mom's birthday. Did you remember this year? I did.
I wish you were here. I just can't imagine how life will be without you.