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Death is hard - Hawk's Eyrie
It's all about releasing your inner sociopath
Death is hard
Don't expect me to continue the trend of two (or more!) posts in a single day. I usually leave that type of meshuga energy to canyonwalker. However, I feel like a dam has broken so I want to get some things out.

Immediate family members dying unexpectedly can be hard, no matter the reason. It's even harder when the family member dies by suicide. Part of what I have been coming to grips with is how to reconcile the anger of cleaning up my oldest brother's mess with the knowledge that he was sick with depression and (possibly) dealing with a gambling addiction.

On top of that, there's so many unknowns we'll never get answered. I've known for a long time that many things we think we "know" as a society aren't necessarily true. We find a hypothesis that seems to make sense, and then we make that our mantra.[1] My brother didn't leave a note[2], and he made a damn good attempt at wiping his computer and keeping us off of his phone. That means we can only make guesses based on facts we've seen, but we'll never know if they're the truth or not.

We know for a fact that he was depressed. The layers of dirt we found in his apartment... the fact that he lived with it smelling like rancid cat pee (even though he hadn't had a cat for about 3-4 years)... the fact that he put dishes away as clean with thick layers of grease and dirt on them... yeah. We know that as a fact. We know he was hurting from something else that had happened to him, and he didn't know how to cope. We also know that he didn't know how to fully connect to any of us, and so he didn't come to us to help when he needed it. Anything else - including how he really felt about any of us except our mother - we don't know and we never will.

I feel like my oldest brother was a complete stranger - and yet he and I had so much in common. Until we started to clean up his things, I'd forgotten that he had been the one who had kindled my love of science fiction. We had very similar tastes in music. He also started playing blackjack after I told him about our forays into it. Poker was ultimately his game, but he still was interested enough in what I had told him to check it out.

The weird thing about the funeral, is that I kept feeling like everyone was judging me. Nate and I had very similar personalities - we don't like to show strong emotions to most people. So every time someone who was not part of the nuclear family tried to corner me at the shiva and get me to talk, I walked away. I could feel their stares watching me, thinking "she's going to do the same thing Nate did". The weirdest part about that was most people who were there didn't know anything other than the fact that he had died unexpectedly. My mother didn't want to deal with the community gossip during the shiva house, so it was only told to a few people.

I know it will eventually stop hurting (or hurting so much). I just don't know when that will be. Typing this out feels liberating, so maybe I have turned the corner on healing. I don't know. I just know that I had probably spent no more than 24 hours with him in the past 20 years, and the depth of sorrow and anguish I'm feeling has completely taken me and canyonwalker by surprise. The thing is, I always knew he was there. I "knew" that anytime I really needed him to talk, I could force the issue. I hate it when people do that to me, so I tried to leave it as an option for him - not a requirement. I know our mother kept him up to date on everyone's antics, so it's not like I was a stranger to him. It's more like how everyone feels they know what's going on with your life, because they read your twitter/facebook/g+/journal/whatever - and forget that you haven't actually communicated directly in years.

[1]I'm thinking about how we extrapolate what we think historical clues mean, and then teach them as a truth. The hypothesis becomes the truth, regardless of whether it is or not
[2]Per the detective assigned to his case, lack of a note is more common than the layperson expects.

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