Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Nearly every day of my life I watch an episode of some version of the program Law and Order. It's my favorite show. I especially love SVU and the Lennie Briscoe episodes of the original. 

The night before last I was watching an old episode and the very first scene showed a dead woman, hanging by a rope in her bedroom.

I am certain that I saw many images just like this for many years before I lost my brother. Some person, somehow both weightless and the heaviest object in the world, exposed in this most horrific way.

It was different then.

I can't see that kind of image now. It feels too exploitative and personal.  I covered my head with my blanket until that scene was over.

Moments later I fell asleep and in my dream, my brother was there.

I have dreamed about him so many times. He always looks whole and normal and alive. 

We don't speak in these dreams, but we talk. Our mouths physically do not move, but he hears my thoughts and I hear his. 

This never occurred to me before two nights ago.


My brain said to his:

"So I found this online thread about you. People were speculating that you died from the Covid vaccine."

His brain said to mine:


My brain said to his:

"I know. I think the obituary was pretty clear. It's getting better, though. Things are changing. Not everything, but some things."

His brain said to mine:



Then the door slammed, just like it always does. The door to the room in which his life and death exist. There is not entrance from my side. The door that I always prayed would shut quietly and peacefully slams just as hard as it did the day he died. Abrupt, jolting, painful. It feels the exact same way every. single. time.


I woke up a mixture of sad and happy, as I always am when I dream about him.

Sad because it wasn't real.

Sad because the door slammed again. 

Sad because, Jesus Christ, he always did this to me. Always. Everything was always on his terms. I wanted him to get better, I wanted to do anything I could to help him get better and he rejected me every time. Even in my dreams he gets to decide when it ends and I am left alone again to grieve.


Happy because I saw his face.

Happy because he was okay.

Happy because his brain and my brain still talk to each other, just like when he was whole and alive and we'd make faces at each other across the room.


 As usual, I didn't get to say what I wanted to say.

I didn't get to tell him that I'm scared I've outlived my usefulness and no one hears me anymore.

That most days I do okay, but sometimes things like a 30 year old episode of a television show hit me like a mack truck.

That I'm still not angry with him, but sometimes it hurts way more than it should because I feel like he broke our deal to be here and help each other manage all of this.

That I am so, so sad. 

I am still so very sad. 

I don't know if I will ever stop being sad.

When Chris was alive we texted all the time. In the last few years especially he would hide away and I didn't physically see him as much as I should have. Of course I am busy and of course we all have our own lives, but also his mental health and addictions made things difficult. Texting was our connection. We said all the words without physically speaking the words.

Just like in my dream.

In the dreams, just like in real life, it feels like there is never enough time for all the words. All the things I should have said. 

I would give anything to have a door handle on my side of the universe.



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