i have gotten through the worst of this month, though i have to tell you, it’s been more a challenge this year than usual. i’ve seen a lot of three-twelve in my day-to-day activities in the past couple of weeks, and before yall say, you’re just noticing it more because of the time of year, please know there is never a time i don’t notice that number. i’ve written about this before. but whatever… i’m doing it again.
three. twelve. march twelfth — the day my brother died. i can tell you where i was for every hour of that day. i can tell you where i was when he died, where i was when my parents were notified, where i was when they’d told me. i can picture that moment — especially that one — with painful, awful clarity. i wrote a poem about it. it’s probably the best thing i’ve ever written. i can’t tell you how grateful i am that i could take something so hideous and make it into something worthy.
i can tell you my younger brother was vacationing with his then wife and their friends when my parents called him, and when they’d called him another time during his brief stay there, he hadn’t wanted to take the call because he was in the exact same spot as he’d been when they’d told him of jon’s death.
i’m not noticing it more because of the time of year. every time i notice it, i think it’s his way of saying hello. of somehow finding a way to be present in my life.
it happened just today, for example, when i’d bought my king-sized hershey’s milk chocolate bar and my twelve-ounce can of dr. pepper. and the clerk rings it up and says three twelve.
there was a time i used to freeze at that. i’m getting better.
you could say the depressed gal is choosing depression. whatever. i’m grieving, dammit… still. i’m grieving because goddamn i miss that man. because right now the thing i need most is his laughter and even the memory of it is gone. i can’t recall it anymore. i’m grieving because i still can’t fucking figure out why god stole him away from us and has kept me here to wallow in this bullshit. me who seems to be so unnecessary…
someone asked me the other day how i’m doing… how’m i doing? i fucking hate life right now. that’s how i’m doing. i hate that i can’t be the beautiful one, the light one, the good one. i hate that there’s this gaping hole in my world, and i can’t fill it. i hate that i crawl into an empty bed at night and have to bunch the pillows about me so as to have some semblance of being held. i hate that i have to, have always had to provide my own damned comfort. i hate that others who have an impact on my family dynamic can continually find new ways to hurt us, that it’s being done out of the purest spite and malice… that there are more ways to cause death than just taking a life. someone can change a name, too, and in so doing, a tree dies. i know that’s vague. i can’t be more direct about it. just… there’s been enough death in this house… i don’t think i can stomach anymore… and yet… the possibility of it swirls about me in the murky abyss of my conscience, clouded by ursula’s cruelty… a real-life version of that heinous bitch from the little mermaid.
i hate life right now, but more i hate how powerless i feel to change the things that matter most to me. that i can’t say what i’d most like to say. that doing so would only evoke more ugliness, that the ursula from my world is eager for just that sort of thing. and how much i don’t give a rat’s ass to change the things i can.
that serenity prayer? i know that thing well. it was beer that killed my brother. i have his chip somewhere. i’d rather have him. those words though… they mean nothing to me. and it hurts my heart to write that, because i’m a writer. words are not empty things to me. but those… they are nothing. this life… it’s not a whole lot more than that.