To share happiness, and to have done something good before leaving this life is sweet.
I buried my brother yesterday. How many deaths is this, now? Four-including my cousin, Elmer Ray. I don't know what to do with myself with this confusion and sorrow. My brother led a complicated life. His relationships with the family were strained, at best, as were the ones he formed in his own life, those that he could sustain, that is.
But, I had a relationship with him. I always did, rocky and tumultuous as it was at times (a lot of times). He did many things that some would consider unforgivable. But I just understood who he was. That thing in me that I am discovering just wouldn't let me turn my back on him over the years, because I kept regaining contact with him.
My brother was a complicated person. As I stated in last week's post, he struggled with mental illness and alcoholism. He was seeking treatment, but after our mom died, I think guilt of past actions sent him in a downward spiral straight into depression and acute alcoholism. He had a troubled life; a troubled past, but now, his present and his future will be forever untouched by strife.
I do have some not-so-pleasant memories of times with him, but I also have a ton of fond memories, too. I have found, especially in this last year, that when someone passes away, you tend to forget any disgruntled feelings you may have had towards them. All the other memories come back eventually, but you start to understand, or at least cease to be offended by, that which upset you. You start to understand the person and compare their life to your own mortality. It certainly helps you evaluate your own life and what you want to do with it before the very real possibility of it ending comes about.
But, back to my memories of Brian. From those fond memories I have of spending time with my brother who was funny and charming and very intelligent and quite the artist and musician, I know he had some happiness, if only for periods at a time. I know he made some bonds that brought him joy.
Last night, my husband took me to an observation tower near our home by the Mississippi River because there was a gathering of amature astronomers setting up their telescopes (very big telescopes) to look at the moon, Venus, and most spectacularly Saturn, as well as watch the Perseids Meteor shower that is happening in the northern Hemisphere this weekend. He stumbled upon the information about this on one of his bike rides in the bluffs at the visitor center. I thought it was totally appropriate as I am a huge fan of the universe and all that it holds, but mostly because my brother is the one who introduced me to the sky. That's one of my favorite memories of us together, besides the time he took me repelling off the side of a 100 foot bluff. He would take me out with his fabulous telescope and we would look at the stars and planets together.
The whole night all I did was think of my brother and how much he would have loved being there with us last night, as I watched the sky for those little trails of light. And there they were. Just a few, but they were beautiful. I thanked him for giving that gift to me.
I now have my brother's telescope and need to learn how to use it, as it is bigger than any I have owned. That's why it was so special that this night fell into our laps on the eve of his service. It was a very synchronistic evening, to say the least.
So my lesson here is this: Make sure you do all you can to live a happy life. Try to always be conscious of what you are doing and thinking. My story about my brother isn't about that he should have been "better", though he really could give those around him a very miserable existence when he was miserable, or so was perceived by the perceiver. It's about you and me having more tolerance and forgiveness and understanding in our own lives and maybe that could be the trigger for change in someone else. I know everyone is responsible for their own actions, believe me. Brian knew better that to do a lot of what he did in his own life. I'm not saying you must tolerate being mistreated. But if you practice compassion from the get-go, who knows whose life you may unwittingly, change.
Spread joy and do something good...It's what you're here for.
Thank you all so much for reading. I really do care about you all and want only happiness for each of you. It is deserved by you and it is your birth right. But know that you can create it for yourself, and share it with the world.