my dead brother

having someone in your life die changes you as much as, say, having a baby.
i would not be the artist i am today if i had not become a mother. i would be a different artist.
and i would not be the person i am today if my brother had not been killed eight years ago today. i would be a different person.

my big brother…sigh.
he introduced me to movies. that is one way i remember him. he took me to see raiders of the lost ark when it was in the theaters and i was all like, “this movie sounds stupid.”
and then i was all like, “that was the best movie ever!”
he took me to see the empire strikes back when it came out
and i remember as we walked back to the car after the movie, he said, “it’s leia. they are talking about leia.”
and i had no idea what he was talking about until return of the jedi.
he brought a copy of terminator home from college and as i watched it, he would say, “surely he’s dead now” every time they thought they had destroyed arnold schwarzenegger.
he introduced me to one of my most favorite movies ever blade runner.
and to another dytopian influence a boy and his dog.

self2

these two pictures were done for a drawing class where i was supposed to do two self-portraits that were meant to be hung together. the top one is from a photo of me as a baby with my brother mike.
the second one is a self-portrait of me in tribute to the polaroid taken of sarah connor  at the end of terminator.

his life and his death are both heavy influences in who i am today.
sometimes i don’t know how to feel about that.

here is a poem i wrote in a writer’s workshop about it:

heavy

when someone close to you
dies
it becomes part of your description
she has brown hair
a nice smile
and her brother is dead

birthdays are the hardest
his last one
i didn’t know
it was the last
his voice sad on the telephone
my pledge to keep in touch
this time

we live in a world
where I can obsessively search for
intimate details of his death
available in short video
burning plane
gray matter splattered on a playground
his last words, “oh, fuck.”

notorious IT guy for the other side
the forrest gump of stolen elections
everything reminds me
of him
the sound of a single engine  plane
sad songs on the radio
politics, christmastime, and charismatic men

i drink irish whiskey this time of year
but it was scotch at his wake
four years now
four years since the last election
four years since the plane crash
a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream
murder republican style

when someone close to you
dies
do you let it redefine you?
hello, I’m connell
a mama, a student, an artist
let me tell you
about my dead brother

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Author: emje

i'm a disaster at every type of relationship i enter into...except with my kids. i think i'm doing something right there...but it is difficult to tell sometimes, especially since i have a pretty crappy support system since support involves relationships. i am a pretty dark person with a weird sense of humor. i spend my non-mom time cooking, baking, homesteading, fermenting, planting, sprouting, experimenting, reading, writing, drawing, plotting, obsessing, and hiding. as a mom i am about as unconventional as i can get. i unschool my kids & give them a lot of freedom to be who they are. this does not help my popularity. but my kids are super cool. i love my kids.

7 thoughts on “my dead brother”

  1. I have only seen two of those movies….the terminator and a boy and his dog. How wonderful it must have been to have an older brother. I am so sorry for your loss but you hold him dear in your memories…and your artwork. He will always be remembered. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you!
      like many dysfunctional households, we escaped into movies a lot as kids. at one point in my life i had seen so many movies i could have been a film critic. then i had kids…ha!
      big brothers are curses & blessings. a tormentor & a protector all in one! i loved him & looked up to him and he never judged me despite our being at different political poles. he was a good man.

      Like

    1. it’s difficult to imagine surviving so much pain. i’m so sorry you have had to. my siblings & i, the six of us, we used to joke that we were indestructible because we had survived being raised by our parents. we thought we could survive anything. we weren’t prepared at all. since mike died, we have all grown completely apart. maybe it is because we are afraid.

      Like

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