Happy Birthday, B

50 years ago today, a child was born. My eldest sibling, B. The circumstances of their conception and parentage were a lazily irreversible accident, some would say a coincidence. Everyone tried their best.

And, like life will make anyone do, the child clung to the spark of innate genius that lies within each one of us, and grew up.

B grew up like a storm begotten of storms, with eyes so wide open that they were blind to many things; above all, the nameless worth of their own existence. Shoulders hunched against indifferent winds, and even slightly tormented, they wandered though life, giving and getting, aiding and abetting, hurting, hindering, more wandering, learning, forgiving – both wild and tame, both woman and man, both enthusiastic and rigid, both innocent and cynical, both vulnerable and completely arrogantly unavailable.

Many tried to come near, some came close, and a few were invited right in. For a time, at least.

Was this person born to suffer, like some of us are in this life? Did they bear it well? Sometimes. Sometimes, not at all. In the end, B chose to end their own life with suffering.

(Sometimes, it causes me to tremble.)

My life goes on and on.

A face once animate now poses inanimately. B’s existence becomes present now only in photos, in their coat which I’ve worn all winter, in the kitchen implements I took from their place after helping to clean it out. In their makeup, which I rub on my face. Inanimate objects become layers of this person who left me behind.

The only lively, flickering animations are my final memories – our last horrible text conversation, their bedroom, their clothes on the floor, their bathroom and kitchen left so warmly and enthusiastically lived-in, evidence of the human tornado they were, this person that once was.

Then, the formal awkwardness of goodbye. B’s smug face refusing to open its eyes, hands fixed and folded forever. The group photo of all of us siblings together, which never took place (I wish it had). Everyone lined up, hunched, murmuring, crying, for days and days and days and then weeks and months.

I carry animated evidence of this life inside me now, but it doesn’t really have anywhere to go.

That’s the essence of grief. It lands here through whatever circumstance and then just resides with nowhere to go. It must be assimilated. One piece at a time. One memory at a time. One day, one moment, one breath at a time.

Read more of Lone Peep’s writing at Sledgehammer of Love.

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