My two brothers had been helping us move my business to it’s new digs across the street back in February. We have a pretty good time together. They are both hard working guys and at the same time they are Wettig’s and we are a pretty silly bunch. In fact, we are lunatics. That makes it the hard jobs easier. Insanity does run in the family and sometimes that’s hardly a joke.
It was time for a break and both brothers went out the front door of the store to smoke a cigarette. I was inside moving things around and looked up through the big glass window and saw Mark, the older of the two, laughing and waving his arms in sort of a comical ‘I’m going to karate chop you’ at me through the glass. There were big scratch marks in the glass and we had been trying to figure out how in the world someone had made them. Both Brian and Mark were laughing. Mark looked me in the eye. I felt caught off guard. You see I have 3 brothers and one of them is gone. He died, self-medicating. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of him in the shenanigans of the other two. Sometimes it’s a song that he liked or played on the guitar. Sometimes…it’s the sunshine and the sun was shining.
I walked outside and half laughing, half crying I said to Mark, “Please don’t do that. You look just like Danny.” He took a drag of his cigarette, nodded, and looked away. Brian looked at the ground. Danny was the one who made us laugh the hardest. We feel the space where he should be standing, making us laugh. Then I ask myself how I would get through this terrible grief without these two, the brothers that remind me so much of him? It would be much much harder. I wanted to say, “I’m sorry you guys, carry on. I didn’t mean to spoil the fun,” but Mark caught it the instant I did.
Grief doesn’t end, but it changes. It changes you. Danny’s death at 46 was the biggest disappointment of my life. I just knew from a very young age (I’m 13 months older than him) that one day he was going to be alright. He never was. It’s agonizing to watch someone you can never remember life without slowly die. He become smaller as the drugs he craved got bigger until the person we loved was barely there. I never really gave up on him and when they called to tell he had passed they had to pick me up off of the floor. It was over. The worst travesty was the 13 year old son he left behind. His mother had died 2 years before for pretty much the same reason. An orphan to drugs.
What happens to some of us? and when does it end? I’m afraid I know. You can almost reach into the pits of hell to try and pull somebody back from the slow death of drugs and it may not work. One day it’s that phone call and it’s all over. Big empty sadness, for awhile. I eulogized him at his funeral. After two years now I’ve stopped crying every day. I remember the brother that was so full of himself and not the drugs. Once in awhile I write about him.
That helps too…