Monday, March 27, 2017

The Truth About My Brother

The truth about my brother is this: he died sometime in the very early morning hours of March 22 of an accidental drug overdose. Norco, vicodin, other stuff, we are not sure yet. Toxicology reports take 8-12 weeks, so maybe we don’t know if he truly died of a drug overdose, but we do know.

The truth about my brother is this: I loved him so fucking much and might not have known him at all. For example this: I did not know he had a drug problem. I did not know he did drugs at all. We used to say both incredulously and smugly that we don’t know how we escaped the addiction gene so prevalent in our family, but we did.

The truth is he didn’t.

We did not always get along. There were times I did not understand him, did not like him, but goddamn if I didn’t always love him. I was so mad at him for so long because he was not there for me when I was sick, when I went to Tel Aviv. He disappeared and I was so hurt and baffled. How the fuck could he not be there for me with what I was going through? The truth is he was a fucking drug addict and couldn’t handle it.

The truth of my brother is this: I used to have dreams when we were little that someone was beating him up and I would have to save him. A boy named Lachlan, the bully up the street with the Dickensian name of Josh Maggot. In these dreams I would bite the bully on the arm and save my brother, and everything would be ok again. When I was afraid, my brother used to let me sleep on his floor, even in high school, I slept on his floor. He was my big brother, and I only ever had to save him in my dreams.

The truth about my brother is that he told a lot of fucking lies that are just coming out now that he is dead, and not just the lie that he was addicted to pain medication and whatever else, but other lies to help hide that, little lies that didn’t fucking matter, lies that didn’t need to be told at all, big lies, hurtful lies, lies that shatter.

My brother was a good man, the kind of person who said please and thank you almost too much. He was kind and generous and I could talk to him about small silly stuff and effortlessly slip into talking about something deep. He did not shy away from talking about what really mattered, so why the fuck didn’t he tell me what really fucking mattered? That he was so addicted to drugs that everything was a lie? That the pleases and the thank yous were so we wouldn’t question the truth?

In the last few weeks my brother and I had gotten closer again, and we texted or talked almost daily. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing or if it’s just a thing. We told each other how much we loved each other and how lucky we were to have each other, but of course now I look at those texts and I wonder: was that the truth? His house of cards was crumbling and he came to me and my dad with lies so big we believed them. We rallied around him, fed him, loved him. Was I just so eager to have my brother back in my life that I swallowed it whole?

My brother used to say that I was the only person in the world with the same childhood as he had, and I didn’t really understand why that was so awe-inspiring to him. Well, yeah, duh. But now I do, and it is too late.

The truth about my brother is that I will never know the truth, and that’s the biggest loss of all. For a very long time he lived without any real connections because of his addiction and lies, and that’s what I cannot stand. The fact that he must have felt so alone for so long. That he died alone in an apartment and we could not get to him for days. Did he know that we loved him? Would have done anything for him? That he could tell us the truth and we would still love him?

My brother was a good man, a kind man, a talented, accomplished, respected film director with a beautiful, loving wife and two amazingly adorable kids that he loved to distraction. I am going to do my best to remember him this way: smart, funny, his uncontainable laugh, the best one-eyebrow-raiser I have ever known, the brother I knew before or despite or beneath the drugs and the lies. Because all of that is still true, but so is this: my brother died alone of an accidental drug overdose sometime in the early morning hours of March 22. He told so many lies and lived without truth for so long that I think it’s important to be truthful now. If he could not live in truth, then I will give him truth in death, a real connection. We deserve that, he deserves that, not in a malicious way, but in a loving way. He fucked up. And I still love him. I will always love him.