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Late night/early morning thoughts before a funeral. - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John

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Late night/early morning thoughts before a funeral. [Aug. 19th, 2004|11:25 pm]
John
I don't know if I was 8, or 9, or 10... or maybe even 11, though I doubt I was that old.

I was at summer camp, and I saw my brother... and, well...

To say that he was beautiful was meaningless; to say that I loved him was hopelessly redundant. I had touched the mind of God, you see, and I had seen him, and realized these things on an incredibly primal level.

Isn't that impressive?

You know what else is pretty impressive? Watching a pigeon fly into high-voltage lines, just right. *PIFT*, and there's nothing left. Yeah, it's impressive as hell, but not a whole lot of fun for the pigeon.

I was thirty seven when I realized that I was different. Not just 'different', but *DIFFERENT*. I realized that I was a regenerating pigeon, flying into high voltage lines just right, over and over again. And I don't know if I started insulating myself, or flying differently, but I wasn't getting *PIFT*ed anymore.

And today I wonder... did my brother have fifteen months more to learn how to deal? Or fifteen more months of flying into high voltage lines, so that, where I was able to find an answer, he wasn't?

Spider Robinson wrote about two telepathic brothers... and how they were finally able to share the control over that horrifying form of telepathy they shared.

He also wrote about meddling time travellers who went back in time, and fixed things, and made a beautiful thing even more beautiful.

Maybe my brother died because he needed sex, companionship, love, or whatever he was seeking.

Any person who opposes condom distribution and education for HIV control, note the middle two factors before you open your mouth against it again.

Maybe my brother needed something to insulate him from the high voltage, or better flying lessons... and maybe it came in a needle, until the day it came in a tainted one.

Anyone who opposes needle exchange programs, keep *that* in mind. There are people who I've helped, and I desperately hope there are many more of them than I know. There are going to be a lot more people I help. And a clean needle just might have doubled the number of people who could be helped by someone in my family with loads of brainpower and empathy... and just a minor change in *my* life, and a dirty needle could have cost the world both of us.

Today I want a time machine. I want to go back, and find my brother at the age of thirteen or so.

I want to tell him that it's okay that he's gay. I want to tell him it's all about love, and you can't help loving men, or women, if that's how things are for you.

I want to find a certain minister - no, Catholics did *not* have a monopoly on religious leaders who raped children - and...

Well. I don't think I'd kill him. Not if I got to him *before* he raped a child.

When I think of my vision of how beautiful my brother was, and overlay it with the fact that this rapist got to him, though... there are no words. And if he was before me now, I don't know if I could stop myself.

I want to go back and say to Chuck that it doesn't matter that he had two scary, awful secrets.

I waant to tell him that no, I wouldn't understand him at all, but god damn it, no one would understand ME, and no, that wouldn't be enough, but god damn it, it wouldn't matter, because at least we'd share that much. At least we could share the isolation, and the feeling of loneliness.

It's not that I want to save his life so much as I want to make the life he had be something closer to what he deserved.

But, for today, I have a vision, of my brother.

He is beautiful, and I love him, though to say so is both redundant and inadequate.

It's enough... but only because it has to be.

Only because it's all I have.

Fare well, my brother... you deserved the world, but more importantly, the world deserved you. I hope that, next time around, it's a better meeting for you both.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: pagawne
2004-08-20 07:27 am (UTC)
I wish so much I could make it easier for you, John. It sounds like your brother was very much a special person.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:34 am (UTC)
Thank you, darlin'... I guess sadness and minor melancholy go hand in hand, because I've spent a few days thinking about how I miss knowing you and Bill were "kinda close by".
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[User Picture]From: juliansinger
2004-08-20 07:39 am (UTC)

'kay, crying now.

The guy who did stuff to my brother killed himself.

I don't think I'd've killed him, had I been able to go back in time and Fix Things.

But Gods, I wish I could find out.

And yegods was this both /not/ what I needed to read right now, and exactly what I needed to read. You're... deep in the feelings and I so very admire your being able to feel it so fiercely, and...

Well. Fare well to him, next time around, and I wish I could help you at all, now.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:43 am (UTC)

Re: 'kay, crying now.

I'm sorry to make you cry, but we could cry together a bit, I suppose.

I guess, in a way, I'm glad I couldn't even hope to track the minister down. Still, there's a special place in hell for those men who molest gay boys... that was always the part that hit me hard, was Chuck explaining how he knew he wanted this, but not this way.
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[User Picture]From: lissamc
2004-08-20 07:52 am (UTC)
I have tears in my eyes now. I wish I had the words to translate the cloud of thought and feeling into something in English, but I don't. Just...yes, you have touched more people than you know. And you have my empathy, and an ear should you ever need one. Your brother sounds like he was a remarkable man. I'm sorry for the loss.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:46 am (UTC)
Thank you... it was actually a funny kind of thing. I hated the way the priest dealt with Chuck, two or three times mentioning how Chuck's deeds didn't necessarily measure up to his heart... that he was good hearted, even if he didn't always do the right thing.

But I realized that I knew Chuck much better than the priest, and *I* didn't even know what good he did, any more than he knew all of the things I did. He was probably even better than I knew.

And now I'm smiling, just a bit, I suppose, because I realize that I like the idea of there being more of my brother than I'll ever know, still out there in circulation, so to speak.
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[User Picture]From: anahata56
2004-08-20 08:17 am (UTC)
Blessings and good thoughts, John.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:46 am (UTC)
Thank you; I felt both, I think, from everyone, as the day progressed.
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[User Picture]From: kshandra
2004-08-20 09:29 am (UTC)
Fare well, my brother... you deserved the world, but more importantly, the world deserved you. I hope that, next time around, it's a better meeting for you both.

So Mote It Be....

Kirsten, weeping softly
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:47 am (UTC)
So mote it be, indeed... he should rest well in the summerlands; we'll all be expecting amazing things, next time around :-).
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:52 am (UTC)
Thank you; I think Chuck has a darn good start on the next life.

I think the 'letting go' has happened... and I think I might have found the right thing to say at the end.

The last thing I told Chuck was that he should thank people... that it was a final gift he still had to give. And, in his eulogy, I explained that I know he might not have, because it's frightening to need so much, and to know that words are so hollow-feeling sometimes. But I know he was grateful, and I think my family felt that, at least a little.

I think, and I hope, that they understood that his gratitude was there, and was real... and I think they also might understand that, yeah, it *is* okay to feel a little relieved, both for his sake, and their own. Chuck was a heavy burden, and a sad burden, near the end... but one born out of love, not just duty.
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[User Picture]From: lolleeroberts
2004-08-20 11:16 am (UTC)
It's not that I want to save his life so much as I want to make the life he had be something closer to what he deserved.

Yes. I understand this so well. It's what I wanted for Charlie. I've never seen it expressed so well before.

I'm holding you in my heart, John.

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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:54 am (UTC)
Thank you; I'm feeling better now, and remembering how I was able to touch some of his friends through my words, and I realize his life was probably fuller and happier than I knew, a lot of the time. But I'll always wish I could have made it just a little bit better (without letting myself wallow in guilt that I "should have", because I couldn't).
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[User Picture]From: iamjw
2004-08-20 11:59 am (UTC)
I can't find the words to say what I want to say right now. Know that I'm thinking of you, that I desperately wish there was a way I could make this all better, that your words touch me.


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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 04:55 am (UTC)
I wished that you could have been with me, too, when I read this... even if only long enough for the hug that I wanted to give you, because of how I felt reading this.

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[User Picture]From: iamjw
2004-08-28 03:25 am (UTC)
*hug*
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[User Picture]From: janetmiles
2004-08-20 12:39 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful eulogy. You do your brother great honor; I wish you didn't have to.

Take care of yourself, and know that others care about you.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:00 am (UTC)
In fact, this was a large part of the eulogy I gave; I stripped as much of the 'me' out of it that I could, and focused more on him.

For a little bit, I was upset that I couldn't keep my voice steadier, and couldn't avoid breaking down... and then I realized that if I could, I wouldn't truly be giving the people there my heart... and my heart was mirroring things they all felt in theirs. So, it was good that the pain was there, and real, and raw. So I felt I did right, and I felt proud of that...but what a sad duty to have completed!

And, yes, Janet, I felt your caring, as well as the caring of others.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:01 am (UTC)
Thank you; I felt your caring and good thoughts, I think... I certainly felt supported! At least until Monday, when I collapsed like the proverbial puppet with its strings cut.
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[User Picture]From: barbarakitten_t
2004-08-20 01:40 pm (UTC)
i love you john...even more now
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:02 am (UTC)
Thank you, darlin'.... it's a shame you never got to meet Chuck. You'd have loved him, too.
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[User Picture]From: blackthornglade
2004-08-20 01:53 pm (UTC)
You're in my thoughts...your brother was lucky enough to have you in his life. That makes up for some of the bad things.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:05 am (UTC)
Thank you...

when I was giving the eulogy, I mentioned how "now, don't think that this kept me from my duties of being a pain-in-the-butt little brother, nor him from his duty of tormenting his pain-in-the-butt little brother..."

And I realized that, yes... even though I wasn't everything I could have wanted, I was his brother, and he was mine, and we did have the last few years (especially those) to appreciate how important that was.
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[User Picture]From: blackthornglade
2004-08-27 10:50 pm (UTC)
And that's a very good thing. Some people never get that opportunity. And the memories will be with you for a long time.
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[User Picture]From: kightp
2004-08-20 04:14 pm (UTC)
Whether you can bring yourself to believe it, beloved, you are breaking through the isolation. Not just yours, but so many others', when you put your heart and soul out there for the world to see. And we recognize our own faces in the mirror you hold up and say, "Yes, that. That, exactly."

And maybe some small thing changes, somewhere; maybe someone tells a loved one what they've meant to tell but haven't, maybe someone is able, finally, to forgive their own transgressions of the heart.

This may, in fact, be your gift, and the thing you were born to give.

Whether that will have made the loneliness and pain worthwhile is yet to be seen. I'm not sure things balance out that way, althogh I like to think they do. But I do know that by opening your heart to us, you tip the scales a little farther toward the good.

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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:06 am (UTC)
Beloved, even when I most doubt myself, when I hear you say this, it's much easier to believe it... thank you. Not just for saying this, but for being who and what you are....
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[User Picture]From: tsjafo
2004-08-20 04:48 pm (UTC)
Prayers and good thoughts on the way.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:06 am (UTC)
Thank you; they helped... probably more than either of us know.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2004-08-20 07:35 pm (UTC)
I will keep your family in my prayers.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:08 am (UTC)
Thank you.

You know, visiting my family first became easier when I had a car. Suddenly, I wasn't at the mercy of a bus schedule, so I could just leave whenever things got too hairy, and that made everything easier to bear. In fact, because I could leave when I wanted to, I didn't need to leave as much as I did when I couldn't, if you understand all that.

Knowing I had a friend to retreat to if I needed to helped this time out.
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[User Picture]From: trinker
2004-08-21 01:41 pm (UTC)
From your fingers, to the Ineffable.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:09 am (UTC)
Thank you; I hope the Ineffable is listening carefully.
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[User Picture]From: homemakerj
2004-08-22 03:15 am (UTC)
What a healthy post! Keep putting it out there. You'll survive this yet.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-08-27 05:12 am (UTC)
Thank you; actually, 'survival' is guaranteed. My family is tough... always a bit tougher than you'd think, it seems to me. But I'm recovering, too.

It's a funny thing, good news and bad news mixed together. Chuck survived about ten years after his initial diagnosis. Mind, he was diagnosed with AIDS on his first diagnosis; his whatever-cell-count was low enough to qualify. He *still* made it ten years, and that with a liver that was shot to hell, to boot. So, we had a lot of time to prepare for it, but when it did happen, it was a surprise, and didn't seem real. I half expected to hear that Chuck was the first person to actually destroy all traces of the HIV, while fighting of hepatitis C at the same time.

Yeah... we're tough, and we survive... but it's good to have the support of others. "Just" survival is rarely enough.
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