I knew that realistically the timing was just not going to work out, given that I just had a couple of exams and am in truly in the sprint to the end of the semester. Also, more importantly I knew that my significant other was in no way going to be able to come with....and what fun would a reunion be without having him around to meet people?
So in lieu of shelling out a chunk of money to fly back to reminisce I took some time this week to do that all on my own.
High school was both good and bad.
When people nostalgically look back and say those were the "best days" of their lives, I always feel a bit sorry. Yeah, they were fun, I got to spend lots of time with friends, and not have the weighing obligations of adulthood, but they also majorly sucked.
In high school I kind of led a double-life. The me in school and the me at home. Wow, that sounds darker than I intended...But my point is that I was dealing with "real-life" a lot earlier than I would have liked to have.
My brother committed suicide when I was a junior in high school, and the time before and after that event were generally pretty fraud with tension and dealing with a number of issues resulting from my brother's life. He was a very talented, charismatic, and loving older brother but he had an addictive personality. While sometimes it seemed that everything went right for me in life, it was the opposite for my brother in that he always seemed to get the blame. The reason I mention this now, is that Monday, November 10th was the anniversary of his death. Every year on his anniversary, until the tenth my parents have had a memorial blurb in the paper and a local lighthouse lit in his honor for the night. It's been a special way to honor his memory and really very comforting.
I was the last person of my family to be with my brother. The night before, we went to see a scary movie with some friends and he dropped me off at home before driving around for a bit. He was always there to listen to me, but had a hard time letting himself freely admit to everything bothering him. While he'd state some things, he'd then deflect and try to lighten the situation or make a joke. The morning of his death, I was woken by my dad to try and help revive my brother and to call 911. He'd asphyxiated himself in the garage with my car. By the time the paramedics were there, there was no chance of successful revival. That is still singularly, what I consider the worst day of my life.
It's still hard to specifically think about.
Senior year of high school I was one of the selected graduation speakers and I ended my speech with a quote from one of his songs, "Don't forget about the past, what we shared will always last". And since then, his death has just been one of those things that lays dormant and then the memory pops up at random times. From graduations to weddings and recently, it haunted me with my aplastic anemia and a lack of a related bone marrow donor. I've long ago gone through the five stages of grief, so what do you describe these times of delayed emotion? It's anger and regret that he's missing out, missing out on who we've become as a family, the experiences that we're having and the happy events to come in the future. It's the mourning of a lost future and the wasting of such amazing potential that I think it helps explain why I am who I am.
So, I've had my own personal reunion this week, in between studying for two exams, with the memories of that time, those experiences, and that life that I had both publicly and privately.