When I decided to move to England, I realized that I finally was burying a dream that I had for over 30 years. That dream was for my family, my brothers and myself, to be reunited. I thought about it for quite awhile and I came to the conclusion that reunification was never going to happen.
All of us had spent our entire lives in America and nothing to date has brought us together… so why did I have a dream that we could some day become a close family? This was the ultimate delusional fantasy of mine.
I spent over 20 years living in Nebraska and I had brothers travel through the state and relatively close to where I lived, yet they couldn’t find the time to stop in for a visit. In fact, during a phone call that took place over a decade ago, my one brother even said that, “We didn’t have the time.” So my time is worth less… so I am worth less… I am worthless.
These are the feelings I have had with my brothers for a majority of my life. Sadly, this defined most of my life. My self-destructive behaviours. My anti-social habits from alcohol and drugs which brought me comfort for many years until finally it too couldn’t bury the pain within.
So, I packed my bags and moved to England. I left behind a daughter, a couple of step-kids, four grandchildren, numerous friends and little else. I didn’t feel any guilt or homesickness when it came to leaving my brothers, their wives, and their children. The fact is, I didn’t know any of them.
Out of my three brothers, I could say I was close to one. I use the word “close” very loosely. I have met his two daughters. Once when they were 5 to 7 years old and then when they were in their 20s. This “close” brother I had seen twice in the last 30 years.
It only took eight months of me living in England to see that this dream died forever. My oldest brother, Mike, passed away at the age of 69. It did bother me… it did affect me… but not to the point where my life stopped.
What hurt the most was that I had no idea who my brother was. I had no idea what kind of husband he was or what kind of dad was he to his two sons? With that said, I really don’t need to know the answer. I wasn’t a part of his life for over 30 years why try and act like it was something different?
I did have one final e-mail from him shortly before I left America. I never opened it… that is… until he was dead. It amazed me. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t responding like my older brother, instead he spoke like a person who understood where I came from and he even apologized for not doing anything to help me as a child. To help me get away from the terror that was our parents.
I didn’t even feel any guilt for not opening that e-mail sooner. Those last eight months of Mike’s life, he probably wondered what I thought of that note and why I never answered it. To me, it worked out exactly the way our Higher Powers wanted it to. I spent most of my life, chasing my brothers waiting for some kind of recognition. Mike spent his last eight month’s waiting for a reply that never came.
I believe Mike was in a part of his life where he wanted to make amends, to rebuild bridges, and maybe somehow my dream became his as well. While reunification between myself and my three brothers will never take place in this lifetime, there is still hope for the next life.
I didn’t go to the funeral… I could of went. I flown across the pond enough to know that I could have been there the day before the funeral and pay my final respects… but why? Again, we had no life together when he was alive, so I’m not going to pretend it was all good just because he died.
Without my presence, reunification couldn’t even take place during death… and I feel really good and at peace with that. The 26th of October 1980, will live forever in our family history. It was the last time all four of us brothers were together at the same time. The reason? My dad’s funeral. Just two months short of 36 years, that Mike, Ray, Rich, and Dave walked together.