I Don't Miss Him
3 weeks ago was his memorial. There was a lady who wore a long white dress, in front of her, her podium. She was the speaker, but I didn't listen. I hated it. My arms were crossed, I rolled my eyes, I was in every sense, disrespectful. “Such a kind heart. We will all miss him. He remains in our hearts, inside each and every one of us.” She spoke like she meant it, but I waited to hear her say she was kidding, like it was a joke, a part of her little skit. After she spoke, my grandmother sat by me, as much as I tried to hide and signal to anyone passing, I wanted none of their consoling. She shook her head and placed her old, wrinkly hand on my shoulder, “You know Bella, It's God's Will. You know.” I had already stopped listening. “He had a kind heart, that wasn't him, you know. He didn't take his life. It was the evil which controlled him.” I began to listen now. I was so eager to rebuttal. “I mean, he still made mistakes and did bad things, he's human.” She almost sounded excited to respond to me. “Yes, but he was a good kid, he was too good.” I hate those words. I'm angry at her. I'm angry at the speaker. What am I supposed to say? “Oh no, I'm totally fine, I don't miss him.” I fear sounding insensitive. But they don't know how I've had to learn to live with my story for so long. They don't understand how there's this feeling of relief in his death. That he didn't have to suffer with substance abuse any longer, or judgement, or imperfection, or people taking advantage of him, and for me to finally feel like I'm free from the awkward anger towards him I had to keep inside me for so long. 8 years ago he sexually abused me. 3 years of my young, juvenile girlhood, rediscovered, this year. A mystery resolved. 3 years was constant trauma. From the ages of 6 through 8, I was a toy to him, a play-thing. I had grown to cover up the trauma for all my life. 3 days before he died, he was still in recovery from his cardiac arrest; he had been hospitalized for days. Those 3 days were potent. If you were to step foot in our house, any of those days, the air would suffocate you. Everyone waited, pensive and frustrated; and it was utterly palpable. It was painfully short lived, my sense of soon-coming justice. I thought maybe, that I could begin to heal my scars. But, I was terribly wrong. It was my newly ordained duty to care for him. I cared for him just like I had been doing for years. When he would come home overdosed. I was scared of what he might do next. And it was dark, and the house felt horrifyingly hollow. I would hold his head up as he spasmed on the floor. And, I made sure his head didn't bang over and over and over and over again on the hard, tile floor. I tried my hardest to make sure the tiles wouldn't start to turn red. I did that for him-and, I had a duty. Even as I cried, because he had grabbed my arm and tore his nails through my skin. I did it even though it hurt, because if I hadn't he could've nearly died that night. Family right? So, how come I can sit here and write, with my own thinking and feeling, hands, that this is the best thing for me. How are we all, my family and friends, relieved? How could I do this? "Do you miss him?" My therapist inquires about me. Sitting at stiff chairs in a room, she asks me with a terribly straight voice. "I don't know." "Well, do you wish he were her right now?" I let my mind picture a scene, where outside my bedroom door, my brother stands there, the corners of his mouth lifted towards the heavens. I could not imagine him, however, smiling a happy smile. I saw him content with himself and his evil desires, and his poor choices, and all of his stolen forgiveness. "No." We both sat there in silence for a little bit. Savoring the thought. Allowing myself to soak this into my pores. "I don't miss him." She leaned back into her chair, and I looked up at her. I let go of the chair cushion in my fisted hand, and let it rest at my side. I had just pushed a boulder to rest. I don't miss him.