He looks so pissed in all of the photos, but he was so proud. He was graduating highschool, step one on the path to his dreams of helping people. He was never perfect my little brother, but I loved him, despite his many faults, he always wanted to be a firefighter, or a policeman but sadly the genetics he was dealt would not allow for that. He was born with a hole in his heart, a condition that would make either career path far too risky for him.
So he settled on becoming an EMT, he was on the path, he was going to be going to school, he had everything lined up. And then he died. Suddenly as that, I got a phone call two years ago tommorow, I was on my way home from the library and kid called, I didn’t normally answer calls in the car unless it was important since it bothered Dave, but I did this time since Kid so rarely called. “Sam your brother’s dead.” she said, I thought it was a prank at first, some kind of joke, I could barely understand her, couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying, she had to repeat it for me to grasp it. Finally I went into gear. Told Dave we needed to go pick up my sister and then go up to Toledo where my brother lived. Started making phone calls, everyone’s reaction was different, my sisters was similar to mine, borderline hysterics. My mother acted like he wasn’t her son, like this was something solely affecting Amy and myself. She offered to fly out, but only “if we really needed her.” and made it clear it would be a hassle and a burden.
I still couldn’t believe it, it just didn’t hit me until we were up there and I saw the police cars waiting. I’ll always remember standing in that parking lot watching the door that used to be his, my sister and her Ex who was there for her, myself, Dave and Kid, aka Cassandra, my brothers ex-fiance. I couldn’t bring myself to go in for the longest time. But I knew I needed to. I needed to see him to make it real. That’s how it’s been whenever someone I loved has died. It’s not real till I see the body, and we were having him cremated so I wouldn’t have many chances. Finally I work up the nerve, I ask the cop if it’s okay, he says that it’s better to think of him how he was how I knew him in life. It seems they have a script to work off of since that line was awfully familar, but I went in anyways, I approached slowly, he was half hidden by a wall, I saw his legs, that’s it, his legs, I couldn’t bring myself to go forwards any further, but I knew they were his. I knew it was him, it hit me it was real.
I had to be the strong one though. Arranging everything, finding a funeral home, requesting an autopsy, my sister and Cassandra were comforting each other I just felt distant, distracted. I’ve never been much of a hugger, but I did hug them then. After that it was back to Sanitized death, distant and Removed, we went to the funeral home, we gave them an obscene amount of money and the clothes we wanted burned with him (His favorite hat, a shirt he loved, We forgot shoes though, something that still bothers me), they had him cremated. I and my sister got a necklace with his thumbprint and birthstone.
Kid arranged for services, church services. I’m not sure how he would have felt about that, he was half christian half wiccan, it was stuffy and structured and everything he wasn’t.
We bought a vault, but we want to scatter his ashes and we still haven’t questions about where we should scatter them mixed with getting up there and getting everyone together, he’s sitting in a sort of safe, a holding facility, waiting. It’s something that’s more and more pressing as time goes on but I just can’t bring myself to deal with it. It feels like the final goodbye.