I have been sitting here a few days and for the life of me, I cannot seem to get the creative juices flowing when I sit down to write, even though I have a story in my head I am pretty sure wants to come out. I will be patient though, forcing the issues just produces a mediocre product that I would be ashamed to let anyone see anyway. Thankfully, this is me and I always have something to talk about, ESPECIALLY when I have nothing to talk about at all.

I am pretty sure you all know I have a baby brother. Well, he is 37 now, but you get the point. I am also fairly certain that y’all know that he and I share the same birthday, last Monday, the 2nd, three years and ninety or so minutes apart.

This is not going to be a rant about things that I thought about ranting about. No, we each walk our path and hopefully, we will find a grassy spot to meet one day. Until then, I want to tell you a story about him. Not one of those embarrassing ones that I am obligated to tell, nor is it one that shines any other light on him than the best. It was simply a thing that occurred to me this morning and I want to talk about it.

Andy, my brother, was put in a tough spot after my dad died. I mean, talk about emotionally devastating for the kid. He was next door at a neighbors house when it happened and I made, not my mother and I as she often told him, the decision to keep him as far in the dark about my father’s worsening conditioning in the months, weeks, and days leading up to his death a few days short of our 18th and 15th birthdays.

He had to grow up almost instantaneously, or as much as a fifteen-year-old is expected to, and do things that no one his age should ever have to do. He sat there strong and powerful the day or the service, he was respectful and kind to everyone who gave their condolences. He waited the agonizing three months until the ground thawed enough, hurray for Western New York, for us to lay him to rest.

I think that is when we went down our divergent roads. I lost myself in writing and the internet after and he found friends and music and tried to fill his life with constant noise to drown out the things that whisper in your head in the dark of the night.

He did so well at it too. I failed fantastically on multiple occasions, but Andy always seemed to hold it together when he needed to and I was so very proud of him for that.

After mom died nearly a decade later, we were essentially strangers. He lived in Kansas and Naomi, the kids, and I were in New York. We didn’t keep in touch at all really, it was just one of those things that I think I assumed he would end eventually.

It simply didn’t happen that way, not that way at all.

I can count on my fingers, with some to spare, the number of times I have heard my brother’s voice in the half-decade since Naomi died. It doesn’t hurt. I suppose it did at the beginning, but it was wrapped in so many other pains I just dealt with it all at once and learned to live the life I needed to with my Ducks and My Tribe.

That’s it, I think I have anted to say a version of all of that for a very long time and I am glad I got it out. It was not a sad or angry thing to write, just a thing that needed to be laid to rest at very long last.


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