I’m writing this the day after my brother died. I tell myself I’m doing it because I need to meet a deadline. I tell myself I need to do it because something positive surely will come of his passing. I’m compelled to make it so. I tell myself I’m fooling no one. I’m writing this for me in the hope someone will understand. I pray Lloyd will see it, and understand.
I’m a mess; no wonder this post isn’t clear.
I ask myself if I’ve ever managed to convey through any of my characters the conflicting emotions running through me right now. I don’t think so. I’m not very good at dealing with personal tragedy myself, much less forcing it on readers. But isn’t that what writers do? Aren’t we supposed to distill the emotions we feel into the characters we create?
I’m happy that my brother is no longer struggling for every breath. He’s no longer having to parse his words, two at a time, between ever thinner sniffs of air. Life no longer exhausts him, and I tell myself that’s a blessing. But I still grieve. He’s gone. I’ll never be able to tell him another off-color joke; I won’t have another chance to laugh at his. He’ll never read another word I write. I’ll never again hear his over the top praise. We’ll never share another beer or watch another ballgame together, never again join our voices in disgust at politics and politicians.
I tell myself I knew it was coming, we all did. He’d been sick for quite a while, and yet the end still held a surprise. Too soon, too damned soon. I wasn’t ready. I don’t know if we ever are.
And my question comes back to me: have I ever portrayed such thoughts in a character’s head? After all I put those players through, did I ever capture the disjointed and unbalanced set of emotions I’m experiencing now? Probably not.
Will I ever? I don’t know. I’d hate for anyone to feel what I’m feeling now, and yet I know we all will at one time or another. Can I put that in a book? Do I even want to?
I only know this: I miss my brother. I will for a long, long time.