i am struggling to gather the pieces of myself that have my brother’s signature on them, and there are a lot. i warned my husband and best friend that this is going to be really bad. i am broken and broken-hearted.
ethan is gone.
i keep saying aloud, ‘no.’ as if saying it could make it true. i am finding him everywhere i look exactly as i did when he was alive and just across the country, except now i can’t message him to tell him he’s on my mind. all i want is him near me so i went on an expedition to unpack boxes i’ve neglected since i moved over a year ago. there are little things i was saving that i needed to hold. his old business card. the dvds he made. my copy of hitchhiker’s. a vhs tape of a music video from high school. my ex’s (his childhood best friend) old films. i can’t bring myself to watch anything yet but knowing i could put my hands on them at any moment is keeping me afloat.
i have barely left my living room decked out in fallout collectibles, an obsession he grew in me. the funny soda can pigs he made me with a pocket knife are around my house. i had only seen him a handful of times since he left the state and still he was in my daily life. i feel like i’m missing a limb.
i don’t know how to be without him. it’s hard to think. my local surrogate family has rallied around me hard and i am incredibly lucky to have a place to fall apart, which is exactly what i’ll be doing for the foreseeable future. he’s changed my life twice now, knowing him and losing him. i owe him so much that i’ll never get the chance to repay face-to-face. i sent him a link to my last entry when i first posted, and made a point to tell him who he was to me any chance i got: my family. that i saw him working hard and knew he deserved to see every dream he had come true. he earned that more than most and it’s not fucking fair.
i will never forget a light so brilliant and warm, no matter the distance. i love you always, my beautiful brother.
(brittany, me, & ethan, who had just slathered my nose in ice cream before the camera timer snapped the photo. october 2015)