On my way to yet another exam, the traffic was flowing freely, much like the tears that ran down my face. As usual, they came out of nowhere. Before my morning tea had even wet my lips, memories of my brother haunted my waking state. Not just tears. Gut wrenching sobs with fists full of destructive anger. No bones broken. The bathroom tile is sturdy.
Exam? How am I going to take an exam like this? Ariving early, I am in no mood to be around other students. Without any conscious thought, I walk over to MD Anderson. My feet chose the path for me. I pass through those familiar doors not as a brother, not as a son, not as a doctor-in-training. Not as anything other than the most broken parts of myself.
Where to go where eyes streaked red with tears (and stress) will not garner attention? The chapel. I haven't been in there since my brother was offered the choice of "going down swinging". I sit one seat over from where I sat on that ruinous day, almost as if that old vestige of me was still sitting in vigil behind the phantom of my brother slumped over in a wheelchair while the memory of our mother is crumpled over him.
What do I do now? I scroll through my brother's iphone. (It will always be his iphone, no matter how much I use it. It's become a talisman of sorts.) I come across a guided meditation on grief. Seems as good a time as any. Shortly into it, I'm instructed to imagine a guide. Someone to help me on this path. Of course, my brother comes to mind. Thoughts and emotions stream out of me rapid fire. 'How am I supposed to do this? Why did you die? Why the pain? Why did you have to die like THIS? And finally, I miss you.'
And in return, I receive no big brotherly advice. No words of encouragement. No solace. His response is, 'how do you think I feel? I lost everything.'
'Yeah, I know. I know." I dry my eyes, take a deep breath, and wander back over to my school to take an exam.