Life’s a bitch. That’s something they can’t teach you in the books always. I always knew I was lucky to have a loving family, even if I saw the periodic domestic violence disputes growing up or the financial hardships that came with my mom raising three kids on her own basically. I thought, that was good enough on the hardship level, I’m lucky to have an education, a loving family and basic necessities life is good.
Life wanted to give me a surprise though. I got a call from my mom.
Cancer, stage 3 in her breast.
I thought, okay they have treatments for this. Let’s get through it. Doctor appointment, surgery, chemotherapy, doctor appointment, hair loss, doctor appointment, puking, doctor appointment, it sucks.
Then life thought hey, it’s time to wake up, no dosing off, time for a plot twist.
They don’t teach grief at school.
They don’t teach you what it’s like to watch your parents cry over the loss of their son.
They asked if I wanted to do a speech at the service. I knew I had a fear of public speaking, but how could I not?
That’s my friend that’s gone, my older brother.
That’s a shame they probably thought, at only 24 years old, great student, artistic, funny, smart.
He had been fighting an addiction demon and lost.
They had to know though it wasn’t his fault; I had to tell them, for his sake.
I got up to the podium and saw more people than there were seats for.
Life had a sick sense of humor, where were they before?
I read off the poem I morphed out of anger, sadness and the worse pain I’ve ever experienced; grief. Not the older grandparent passing away type grief or pet grief, but the young person that could have been saved type grief.
The type of grief that will be there every day of my life, from my graduation day to my wedding day.
Because he won’t be there.
I spoke my truth and his truth. He wasn’t there to say it, but I knew he would want me to more than anything. The truth that people aren’t always there for you, care isn’t always available and those that suffer the disease he suffered are shamed and punished for it. I was cheered on when it was hard to go forward. My words released their pain too.
The truth is that he loved,
he was loved,
and will always be loved.
And that truth will continue to live on even if he can’t.