For better of for worse, I find myself resorting to the same coping mechanisms I used during my brother's illness as well as after his death. Perhaps they work, perhaps the familiarity of them comforts me, perhaps I'm grasping blindly at straws. I stumbled across a blog post I wrote only 5 days after my brother died with the salient part being an excerpt from Steinbeck's East of Eden. Out of repetition and familiarity, I will quote it again:
Samuel sat down quietly, and he didn't trouble Adam by looking him too much, and he didn't trouble him by not looking at him. The wind freshened in the treetops and a fringe of it ruffled Samuel's hair. "I thought I'd better get back to the wells," Samuel said softly
Adam's voice had gone rusty from lack of use. "No," he said, "I don't want any wells. I'll pay for the work you did."
Samuel leaned over the basket and put his finger against the small palm of one of the twins and the fingers closed and held on. "I guess the last bad habit a man will give up is advising."
"I don't want advice."
"Nobody does. It's a giver's present. Go through the motions, Adam."
"Act out being alive, like a play. And after a while, a long while, it will be true."
"Why should I?" Adam asked.
Samuel was looking at the twins. "You're going to pass something down no matter what you do or if you do nothing. Even if you let yourself go fallow, the weeds will grow and the brambles. Something will grow."
Adam did not answer, and Samuel stood up. "I'll be back," he said. "I'll be back again and again. Go through the motions, Adam."
I am Adam as well as Samuel. The Samuel in me already knows loss and hurt. It tells me to go through the motions. But the Adam in me knows a new pain, a different hurt, a different loss, in nearly every way, a more soul wrenching loss, and says, "why should I?"