Two years ago yesterday my brother-in-law Sarge died. Two years ago today my nephew Jonathan died.
Lately I have been having some fun in here with death and torture and cruelty.
Why not? It is fun to imagine your worst enemies or generally vile people as dead. Fun to picture yourself lighting their hair on fire, throwing acid in their face or stomping on their fingers.
The death of family members and friends hurts. A lot.
Assuming you love them.
It is quite possible to lose a family member that you just don't give a shit about. Nothing wrong with that. There is no reason for death to trigger automatic mourning if you feel nothing.
2014 packed a brutal death punch by taking two family members in two days. Everybody was reeling in sadness and in shock.
The pain went so deep, the losses so huge, that time became amorphous.
From one perspective I cannot believe two years have gone by. From another perspective it feels more like ten.
Sarge was 59. Jonathan was 27. If you add their ages together you get one life. Separately, their deaths were viciously premature.
The Christmas of 2014 was devastating. Christmas comes along with its promise of celebration and lights and the decorating of life. Now, for our families, it brings with it sadness and memories and a sense of loss.
And that will never change.
My relationship with Sarge did not carry the burden of negativity that the tag "Brother-in-law" often suggests.
I loved the man. I respected the man. We had a lot of fun together; we had many thoughtful and quiet moments together.
I hope I was more than just his pain in the ass brother-in-law to him.
I experience deep regrets when I think about Jonathan. I never got to know him as a man.
His troubles with heroin began around the age of nineteen so I did not see much of him in the last years of his life.
But he was my brother's son. His only son. My nephew.
I knew him to be intelligent, quick-witted, talented and accomplished. At least I got to see him grow from infancy and to know him a little as a young man.
I hate 2014. I hate that Sarge and Jonathan died. Those deaths hurt us all and changed our lives. Changed who we are.
Two years is two years. Time goes by and is measurable.
I think the reason it sometimes feels like ten years since 2014 is because the wounds went so deep; because death on consecutive days changed our families forever.
I think it feels like ten years because of who they were.
Sarge was an immense human being. Loved and respected by so many people it is almost impossible to comprehend.
Jonathan had potential. His life should have been magic. And it would have been had he chosen another path. He leaves an enormous void.
We all feel pain at Christmas; now and forever.
I think of Sarge, I think of Jonathan, I hurt and I shed a few tears.
That is what life is since 2014.