For my 200th post, and the first on my new site … I have horrible news. I lost my brother. No, not brother unlucky, but his best friend. Our big brother.
It has been a month now and I am still as devastated as I was when I first found out. I still get an unbearable pang in my stomach at the thought of never being able to see or speak to him again in this life. I still don’t know how to pick up and keep moving with the rest of the world.
I had been on my way to Hawaii when I got the call. “Are you ok?”, I heard on the other end of the line. I sat bewildered in my hotel room in California, where I had been for maybe an hour at the most, wondering why the question, and why the call from Jamaica at that time of night.
“Yeah,” I hesitated to say after a small pause. “I am fine … Are you ok?”
“No one called you yet?”
Immediately I felt a rush of anxiety as I thought about my father in Jamaica who I had just spoken to as he was helping me find a place to crash for the night. I figured had it been anyone else, he would’ve called me himself.
But I wasn’t any more relieved when I finally heard the words “Daryl died” on the other end of the phone. The statement was met with a long silence, as my mind picked up speed and I tried to gather the words to say. Finally, the only thing I could muster up was “what?”. Then, “are you sure?”
That was the beginning of my denial. I hung up and immediately called my father, who answered the phone by saying “I really didn’t want to tell you. I’m at the hospital now.”
It was true.
I lost my brother on a fateful night in April. He took his last breath in the middle of a crowded movie theatre, watching Fast 7, after dedicating 30 years to racing himself.
I took a 1 a.m. flight out of LAX, which was delayed for 2 hours. I got to MIA the next morning around 9 a.m., where brother unlucky picked me up. He hadn’t gone to work that day, naturally, and as opposed to rushing back to the airport to catch the midday flight to Montego Bay, I opted to spend that day with him and instead fly out the next day. The next two weeks were kind of a blur. I spent every day at the house, being still. No beach. No friends. No adventuring. No cards. No socialising.
After almost a week, I was finally able to go into his room. I didn’t cry until the night before we put him to rest, when the whole city gathered at the house and the reality of it hit: they’re all here to bury Daryl. This is really happening.
I’ve experienced a whole lot of death in my 24 years. (And I’m certain you can remember how not well I handled the passing of Alex 10 years ago.) Typically I grieve for those closer to the deceased whose pain I feel through empathy. But this time, this pain … This heartbreak is my own.
There is an empty space in my heart that cannot be filled. The emptiness is mine to keep, for as long as this vessel is.
I will never be whole again.