This and that and the other thing

It’s been a tough few weeks.

Those who read the previous post know of the other thing, but this and that were also a bother. But, yes, the other thing overshadowed all else.

We’re still in the disbelief mode mixed with the “I’m just gonna cry for a bit” mode. My brother died of an aneurysm and part of being a survivor — all survivors — is the guilt. He is gone and I’m still here. Why didn’t I push him harder to go see a doctor? Why didn’t I ask more questions? Why, why, why . . .

. . . because neither he nor any of us contemplated even the possibility and immediacy of something like this happening.

There’s now a temptation to look at everything as a risk, of being cautious and aware of every little thing. To tell anyone who would listen that whatever it is they are feeling that isn’t quite right might be serious and they should go have it checked out.

I don’t know how long this phase lasts since I’m new to this situation, but the reality is that it will fade, both for us and for others. That’s because we don’t know.

We don’t know the combination that lets us predict what genetic and lifestyle choices call the shots. And that’s discounting accidents and extraordinary events outside our control. No one thought to warn the people on the jet the Iranians shot down that people make mistakes and that sometimes innocent lives pay the price.

Understand, I’m not fatalistic. I believe we have a measure of control. It’s not perfect nor assured, but the tools at our disposal today are much better than five, ten, fifty years ago. Sure, there’s much we don’t know, but we know a lot.

So, I’ll probably continue to give advice about lifestyle choices even as I know people rationalize avoiding doing things they know they should do. Heck, I do it. Today, there’s a good chance that, when I get up for a snack, I will opt for an apple as opposed to an almond-poppy-seeds or blueberry muffin. A few days from now, I’ll say I don’t want to waste the muffins in the fridge. Besides, what’s the harm of a muffin once in a while?

Good question. We don’t know, but most of us rationalize it’s negligible. We rationalize all risk is negligible.

We’re late and we opt to put our life in danger as well as the lives of people around us as we speed and weave in and out of traffic. Or, we absolutely have to text about Brad and what’s-her-name getting back together, and we can’t wait until we stop driving.

Okay, Okay . . . you don’t need me ranting about stuff you almost never do. Just remember that “almost never” is not “never”.

Anyway, this is about getting back into what will pass as the new normal for Melisa and I. The grief will dull — but not entirely go away — and life goes on.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll not mention any of this again and will resume posting stuff. Hummingbirds, mainly, for tomorrow. The next day, Wednesday the 22nd, I’ll post the three stories Garry, Perry, and I wrote for our alphabet challenge. A step above, they are. Or, at least we think so.

They’ll be posted anonymously . . . er . . . I mean, I will post them without names and readers will be asked to vote for their preferred story. They are not short, so I anticipate a diminished reading and voting response, but that’s OK because readers will have a whole month to vote. Or, is it a year? I’ll have to go back and check the rules.

But today . . . today I will listen to this song and shed a few tears. It’s the song I would like people to play when I go, and the song I play whenever I lose someone I know. I just never thought I’d be playing it for my brother.