March came in like a lion seeking destruction. You could say it was an antithesis of events. To paraphrase The Bard – March will always represent some of the best times of our lives and now will represent the hardest of times. It began with my normal morning routine the first Monday of March: open my Facebook to catch up with the world; sip my coffee, eat breakfast, contemplate the day. Well, there it was – a notification on the message app. I never get notified there. My family just texts or calls on the phone. For some reason, I felt nervous, but I opened it anyway. There waiting for me was a message from a long lost cousin letting me know my older brother Jimmy passed away the day before from a fast acting, rare lung cancer. Shock and disbelief filled me. What do I do? That part was decided for me since Jimmy donated or gave his body to science. There was also no funeral, but a dance celebration a few weeks later to honor his life. It all seemed so surreal. Plus, I kept thinking he faked his death. Okay, I still think it’s a remote possibility. In reality, it doesn’t matter because I have never been close to him and now I’m the only one left from my Simpson family.
All my life, my brother lived a life of misdirection and substance abuse. He floated around like a butterfly according to our mom. His destructive lifestyle was not going to be part of my life or my children because it destroyed my parents. That’s the backstory. On the surface, he was a very charismatic person with lots of friends. At one point – I did reconcile with him when I heard he’d become a Christian, and had been clean for awhile, so we briefly kept in contact. Anyway – when I decided to reconnect, I thought finally he had changed the destructive part of his life; however, some patterns returned and I couldn’t deal with it. My children’s safety was/is my first priority. Besides, having his ex-wife #8 send you his copy of divorce papers and asking for me to get them to him, gave me the reason to push pause on the reconnect.
Over the years, I had wondered if pushing the pause button was the right call or was I too harsh. In reading Facebook posts on his page after his death, I believe I did the right thing. He made changes and may have finally found the right path. I just wasn’t meant to be part of it after all. Jimmy had a lot of people whom he influenced and considered family. So do I. It’s okay that our lives didn’t intersect because he learned how to take care of himself and not depend on me. I was/am the baby sister. It should have been the other way around. We were/are complete opposites. Are there regrets for shutting him out? No – because if he truly changed his life at the end, my rejection may have been a small catalyst. My only regret is not knowing this healed version.
The antithesis of this month? Well – March is my son’s birthday and it’s my wedding anniversary. So – there’s that life/death thing going on or a disturbance in the balance. I know you can’t live life without pain. I know one shouldn’t live a life of regret. I’ve seen my share in 54 years, so I’m just trying to process this strange month and the events that ensued. Now that summer has finally come – I can actually grieve that which was lost and try to process the whys and what ifs and regrets.