Tuesday, October 5, 2010


He'd had a blast. The school district's Christmas party always was. Unconsciously the car twisted and turned along the winding dark road while he mentally recreated scenes of that night's celebration. What a great season.

The car barely required steering or breaking. It seemed to know what to do on its own from habit. He and his car as one had glided over this same weaving path innumerable times. So, while his car transported him home, his mind hypnotically transported him to tomorrow's social activities and awake he dreamed about fun.

The past which had laid dormant in the crevices of his soul, became jealous of his future and suddenly stirred. Suddenly from within the darkness came a barrage of memories long hidden behind the passing of time.

He thought of his bastardy childhood and the insidious poverty that framed it:
His mother's apologetic bittersweet love full of shame and resentment,
antipathy from older sisters, as if he were to blame for having been born.
The intermittent affection and rejection from his father. The painful and final abandonment before he was consumed by sorrow and drowned in booze.
Struggles made soft, by those who helped and saw potential.
The humble accomplishments of a kid from a poor little town in Puerto Rico, who got to work in the the university's library.
The acceptance and respect he received from friends.

And...that summer long ago, gloriously free of impositions from those who thought themselves adults - the joy of playing with her, the connection of two children connected by blood and separated by circumstance, the love of kindred spirits...

In a flash all this he remembered...before a crash like a flash from the darkness, exploded on that winding dark road on his way home.


It was mid-morning on December 21, 1985 when I received the phone call. A drunk driver had collided with my half-brother.

It was a strange Christmas. I didn't feel grief exactly. How can you miss someone you barely knew... except for that stupendous summer which will remain indelible on my mind.

Rummaging through old papers, my husband found some pictures and cards from his funeral. I know it's not too late to commemorate his life.


  1. no it is not...so sorry for your loss...and i am glad for your memories...

  2. How such random encounters can upset and possibly derail our lives. We must learn to understand our reach and to be humble.

    A powerful post. I feel for you.

  3. I came here to thank you for letting me know that my picutures weren't coming up - which I fixed and read this. What a wonderful tribute this was for your brother. We're all the richer for hearing about both your mother's and his struggles in life (with no judgments) and grateful that you both had that wonderful last summer together. Life isn't fair, it's just life. I pray we'll all reaffirm our commitment to not drink or text while driving.

  4. Worthy honor - he is remembered well.

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  5. I enlarged and looked at his picture. He had a nice name: Jesus! Sometimes we don't know what to anticipate when we rummage through old memories. It is never too late to celebrate someone's memories, dear Myrna. Here's to your kind heart.

    Joy and peace always,

  6. It's never too late. We carry our loved-ones with us always. I don't think we have to know someone well to love them and miss them. This is the perfect month to commemorate those who are no longer with us.

  7. This is a lovely tribute to your half brother. I got a call last year that my half brother had died in a car crash as well. Sorrowfully, he was the drunk driver in the once car accident. Like you, I didn't remember him very well, but what I do remember of Michael, I carry in my heart.

  8. what a great sister you are... it is remarkable when half siblings have the courage to recognize that whatever the parents did or didn't, it is not the children's fault.

  9. Beautiful post and what a touching way to remember your half brother. I'm sorry for your loss but he will live in your heart forever.

  10. I love how writing brings it back to the surface. Thank you for sharing this touching tribute to your brother. Half, doesn't count in my eyes, because most of my family consists of "half's"