Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Boy With His Fishing Pole

This is how I choose to remember him. My brother Scott, older than me by two years, the first of the four of us, the eldest grandchild on Mom's side. Ten years ago this week he died. At that time I had not spoken to him for over ten years. Here's another ten just to round things out. For the first ten years of my life I adored him and followed him everywhere that he would tolerate. Then things changed. Abruptly. And I still can't say why. Multiple moves and an absent father took its toll on each of us in its own way. While I still remember the bad stuff, it has been made softer and diffuse over time. No longer a sharp blade that I flinch at the thought of. Forgiveness has made healing possible and driven the ghosts far back among the shadows of memory. Having lost both of my brothers, it seems that they live on in my mind as the two sides of a coin, opposites in many ways yet so similar. The eldest and the baby of the family, the sons of Edna and Carroll, handsome, charming, intelligent. While Cullen took these qualities down a path of kindness and generosity with humor and light, Scott found the dark side of the road paved with vengeance and anger and addiction. When I learned of his death following a long year of decline after being diagnosed with latter stage pancreatic cancer, my first reaction was of overwhelming relief. Partly for him after so much suffering, and partly for me because he could never hurt me again. I didn't experience a sense of grief, I had mourned the death of our relationship years before when I cut off contact with him. Something I regretted doing considering how it would impact my family of origin, but in the end something I had to do for my own sanity and peace of mind. I choose to remember the innocent boy. He was the Scott I loved.

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