my hardest day

the anti-versary of his death
is my hardest day every year
but it’s not
just
the void of losing
a big brother
it also happens to be the birthday
of the one who
tore out my heart
leaving it to dry
& wither
memories blowing past
like the leaves
dead
&
brown
my brother died…
you know how there comes that time
when you need someone more than ever
& they
fail you?
betray
you?
instead of holding you
& saying everything will be alright
they
take the opportunity
to hurt you even more?
true colors…right?
in the difficult times
we see their true colors
my brother died
on my husband’s birthday
& my husband
never forgave me for that.
so this day
every year
i mourn
the loss of my brother
&
the loss of the greatest love of my life
who
as it turns out
wasn’t so great…
but try telling my heart that.

the two things are hopelessly
interwoven
my brother’s death
my husband’s betrayal
i miss both of them many days
of the year
but this is by far
my hardest day.

the self-portrait above was done for an art class. the assignment was to do a pair of self-portraits (i think there is an art term for two pieces that are meant to be displayed together–who can remind me what that is?)
both of the self-portraits echo back to the last post i did “my m” in that they celebrate my brother’s & my love of movies and
terminator to be exact. with a good dose of catholicism.
here is my ode to sarah connor:

my “m”

the following is an essay i wrote today for my brother’s oldest daughter who is putting together a collection to honor him on the 10th anniversary of his death. 

Mike was my “m.” It was a family joke. Our initials, in birth order, were
M-P-S-M-P-S.
He was my “m,” & i was his. We would all tease each other by saying what the different letters stood for. Such as, “p is for perfect”; “p is for prude”; “s is for silly”;“s is for sarcastic”; “m is for moody” or “m is for money.” Of course, Mike & I knew that m stood for magnificent.

M also stood for movies. All of us loved movies, but I think Mike & I were possibly the most manic about movies.

We didn’t have a lot of money for things like movies and rarely went to theaters, but I remember the spring of 1980 when we went to see the long anticipated sequel to Star Wars. Mike drove us to see it, possibly in his Chevy Impala that he seemed to be constantly working on. Was that the time the Impala broke down in East Peoria, and we all feared we would not see the movie? But Mike got the Impala rolling, and we all tumbled into the theater to see The Empire Strikes Back. The ending came with a foreshadow of the next in the series with Yoda telling Obi Wan “there is another.”

Walking out of the theater to the car, Mike simply said, “It’s Leia. They were talking about Leia.”

It seemed like magic that he knew that. Mike paid attention to detail & the subtle hints that now seem obvious to those of us who have watched the movies a thousand times.

The summer of ‘81, he loaded us up to take us to another movie. I remember complaining that Raiders of the Lost Ark sounded like the most boring movie ever. However, I was blown away as we left the theater. I would eventually learn to trust Mike’s instinct with movies. His recommendations rarely disappointed.

Once he was away to college and bringing home VHS movies for us, a whole world opened up for me. I will be forever a fan of dystopian plots after Mike’s introducing me to Blade Runner, Terminator, and even A Boy and His Dog. I remember sitting in our downstairs room where we had a TV, VCR, and hundreds of movies, watching Terminator for the first time as Mike would gleefully exclaim, “Surely he’s dead now!”

The last time I watched movies with Mike was the Christmas of 2001. I was living alone in Lexington, Kentucky when he called me up out of the blue and invited me to have Christmas with him & his family. I was so grateful for the invitation and drove right up to Ohio where Mike, Heather, and the kids welcomed me into their Christmas.
I brought him some Knob Creek from Kentucky, and Mike took me to a pub and introduced me to the local beer, Great Lakes Brewing Company, by buying me their Christmas Ale.

To this day, I still buy Great Lakes Christmas Ale every Christmas season & drink one in his memory while watching one of the movies he introduced to me. This year it was Terminator, which I finally let my older children watch with me, gleefully waiting for the chance to say, “Surely he is dead now,” never suspecting that my oldest son would beat me to the punch.

Magnificence must run in the family.

ps. i am the one in the picture in a white t-shirt & jeans who looks like a 12 year old boy 

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