An Open Letter to My Dead Brother, February 2013

Dead Connor,

I was thinking about you this morning. And afternoon. I think about you a lot these days, a lot more than I used to. It bums me out, and I miss you, kid. Can you believe I move back home again this May? This should’ve been our last summer before you went away to MIT. Guess we both dodged a few bullets not having to go to each others’ graduation ceremonies, eh? Liz and I are planning to skip ours to visit a local puppy farm. Squirmy puppies beat those stupid bedsheet ponchos and square hats any day.

You’d get a kick out of my new haircut. It flustered Mom and gave Dad a chuckle. Remember that Flowbee you hated? Mom gave it to me a couple months ago after we got back from our annual pretend-Connor’s-at-space-camp vacation, so that’s what I use now to keep the back of my head trimmed. You’d laugh. You’d say I look like a boy. And you’d be right. (But, that’s okay. I make a pretty boy.)

Guess what I read yesterday! There was a study done where researchers split up these two groups of happy and unhappy people into another two groups where they would be solving anagrams against a fake participant. Half the happy and unhappy people were told that they performed far better than the other person, while the other half of both groups were told they did markedly worse. The results suggested that happy people tended to be near the same level of happiness in both conditions. (Yay for psychological immune systems.) Unhappy people, however, were happy when they succeeded but expressed a major self-esteem hit and mood deceleration when they were told they failed, even though the task was trivial. It’s starting to make more sense to me now why you used to get frustrated so easily over little things, Mr. Grumpy McGrumperson.

I really wish you’d left a note, or even one of your emotion graphs. You little scientist, you. It kills me that there are so many questions about you I’ll never get answered. It’s days like today I wish I was Hindu – or any other faith that endorses reincarnation – so I could believe that your spirit exists in some other life form. Knowing the ashes of your charred body are sitting in that box on your bookshelf is a little less than optimistic, but I do appreciate the down to earth realism I’ve been forced to swallow. By the way, I hope your feelings weren’t hurt that I never formally said goodbye to your body in the hospital. I figured trying to resuscitate you at home before the paramedics arrived would suffice. You weren’t really you by that time, anyway. Nice work on the budding facial fur, though. I hadn’t noticed those nine stray little lip hairs before.

At any rate, I just wanted to say hey… and let you know I laugh when I think of how pissed you’d be that I have a big-ass television on the wall of my bedroom and can have sodas any time I want. (Nyah, nyah.) I really wish you’d come visit. I’d love to hang out with you some time before the dementia runs its course and I lose my mind. I s’pose that gives you another fifty years, so I’ll be waiting. Mom wants to hear from you, too, so you might wanna start there.

Love, me

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