This Guy :: is Benj. A bona-fied geek - a biologist, nature lover, world traveller, poet + way too many things to list here ... but mainly he is my brother.
Benj passed away this past February. This is his birthday week, and the first without him. It's all been messy.
Never do you understand the magnitude of life until you lose someone so uniquely special ... this man was my childhood, my young self compadre, my mentor, the one who always saved me. He always told me what i needed to hear ... truth or otherwise.
He was highly intelligent, so he could be quite the arrogant tosser + superjudgemental, yet his health conditions made him caring, understanding + generous. He was born with a severe heart condition, which these days can be fixed with a few laser beams. But he wasn't so lucky. So many operations + then when he was old enough, they cut open his chest, removed his sternum + placed inside a chunky box. This kept his heart going. His shoulders were lop sided, nothing was ever quite right. He burned through about 6 pacemakers - he was quite the busy chap. Masters in Biology, Researching Monkeys in Africa, touring in South America, saving grasslands, rare frog habitats + those less fortunate ... he was always saving something. Now I understand.
Along his journey his body gained so many scars, so did his heart + eventually his mind. PTSD starting showing it's ugly head 10 ago + since then we started to lose our Benj. He became an angry volatile stranger. In February we got that phone call. The Coroner had said he had passed naturally + peacefully, which I guess we have to be thankful for, but really I know Benj had had enough, he didn't want to fight anymore + I guess his heart simply complied and just. stopped . beating.
One of the first things I thought about, was the last time we spoke a few years ago. He repeated a number to me ... it was my lucky number, a number I had told him about 35 years ago. He remember shit like that + is the only person in the whole wide world that knows that number. Just that thought alone makes me my stomach churn + my heart want to explode..
These past 9 months have probably been the worst + hardest in mine, my sistas + parents life. I'm sure we all appear to be functioning humans, but underneath it's numb, dark + angry. Loss + grief are complete fuckers. I've come to the conclusion that loss comes with a double serving of guilt, that little people + deeply emotional stuff ... do not go together so well. Grief is so very. isolating and that thing called acceptance... well some happenings in life are so monumentally huge that you never accept, you just walk through life + keep it under your arm, close to your heart and that is ok.
So if I could offer advice, I would say ... if you have a loved one going through the biggest thing in their life, just hold their hand, don't ever say ... maybe you should yada yada ... listen without judgement + above all else say these 4 words
How. Are. You. Doing.
It somehow acknowledges that a crisis exists or a person exists + opens a gateway of understanding and conversation.
This is Benj's Birthday week, he would have been 42. We had a pizza party, birthday cupcakes + sang Happy Birthday - the kids loved it, their happy excited little faces made me happy, but not a minute of my life goes by without him in my thoughts or my heart.