Sixteen years ago today my brother David was brutally, senselessly murdered. No, the pain doesn’t decrease with time. That’s a bunch of crap. You have two options: you allow it to overcome you – which it will – or you incorporate it into who you are.
I am different because of this. Not just because he was murdered, or because he was tortured. Not only because of the loss of him in my life, still stumbling around here.
I am different because of the relationships in my life that changed as my parents and brothers and sisters changed; because of the interactions that occurred as we all struggled to deal with this in our different ways; because of the way friends responded inadequately, or with such tenderness.
I am different because of the insidious ways fear crept into my life, in places I am still discovering and attempting to eradicate. I am different in the material I choose to read, movies I choose to watch and stories I can even listen to without feeling my stomach tighten, my throat close, and my eyes start to glaze over. I am different because he was an artist, and I am an artist, and he is dead and I am here.
I have been forever changed by this event, but that does not mean that I have to live in the moment of this event. This, I refuse to do. There was much more to him and to his life than that last hour. There was more to him than the trials and defendants and witnesses and evidence. There is more to him than a headstone marking his remains. He is not stuck there, and I’ll be damned if I will be either.