Shawn Maxam on how his brother’s absence has taught him that recovering from tragedy is impossible.
Absence from whom we love is worse than death, and frustrates hope severer than despair.
No one ever gets it. Not for a lack of trying but loss is a force that’s presence can only be acknowledged by the initiated. The sad, the few, the unseen.
Every good thing that ever happens is marred by the incident. By the absence of hope, purity or fairness. People say life’s not fair. Life is unfair and excels at doling out punishment. Unhappiness is a majestic crusader converting the unwilling via tragedy and poor circumstance.
Keep the faith but the faith never kept me. I wander through the wilderness and stare at the restless natives who complain of only having fire, food and shelter. Such luxuries are foreign to me. I grew up a bastard. A negro of Jamaican descent mocked for my white accent and individuality.
Anger slept beside me and now it resides inside me. Tucked away. Shackled in my subconscious because I’m unable to predict how it will affect me daily. They say suicide is anger and depression turned inward. I was very angry for the past half-decade.
Once you are violated you can’t remember how life was before. You can’t imagine how other people walk and breath. The pain is ubiquitous. I venture to say other people believe in the wrong gods. You kneel before a throne that begs for abdication. The king of pain who is who I serve, unwillingly but loyally.
Four times in the back. My brother was shot four times. Murder is never an easy thing to accept. My mother was only forty-six when she had to bury her son. Her youngest boy. See him put in the ground. Placed in the earth while she has to walk it everyday. Now when asked how many kids she has my mother’s answer is I had six but now only five. One died. There’s never a respite for any of us.
You talk about your siblings. I remember him. You recall your childhood I remember him. You dream of your family’s next holiday gathering and I remember him. Every violent tragedy discussed and I remember him.
Shaped, molded and scarred by his absence. The occurrence of death. I hate this place, this time, this space. I have no choice but to play a role. A role of unbothered. I’m afraid to be myself. Who I am. The sad and scared little boy who misses his brother. Who misses him every moment of every day, always.
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Flickr image via philip.bitnar