How The Loss Of My Brother changed my life

As i write this i can’t stop holding back tears. Everything is so fresh and that last image of my brother still remains in my mind. The last image of my older brother was in a hospital bed.. His body looked fragile and so worn down. He reminded me of a corpse, that wasn’t my brother at all, it was a skeleton with my brother’s face. I remember crying out to him through the phone that he didn’t have to suffer. The hospital in which he took his last breath in had their policies and procedures on visitors during the pandemic. I had panned on seeing him the next morning, but he didn’t make it through that night. Before i get into his death i can’t help but to think about his uniuqe and fun personality. My brother lived his life to the fullest. He danced every chance he got, he could throw down in the kithchen and, dress his ass off Dahling. My brother’s and I weren’t raised in the same home. My brothers and I had the same father, but differenti moms. Our moms came together and decided that my brother’s and I should be in eachothers lives. I can’t tell you the exact conversations between the mothers but no matter what my sperm donor did to either of them, they made sure we knew eachother. My brothers and I lived in two different cities. I dont recall seeing them often, but when we were together you knew we were related. My mom would take me to the city they lived in and I would spend the weekend and vice versa. I loved my brother’s! and their mother took me in as her daughter. I knew my brother was different when we all spent a weekend at my house. He played barbie dolls with me.. I didn’t think anything of it then, I just thought my brother and I are playing together. As we got older I noticed my brother and I loved the same things. We both loved Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child, we both loved to laugh, joke, and people watch. To me, he was just my older brother, my sweet, funny, and quick tounged brother. Outside looking in people acknowledged he was “Different” that he was more feminine and flamboyant with his gestures and actions, but I loved him unconditionally. I didn’t care what his sexual preference was, but I knew I would beat anyone down who would try to harm him, and he would do the same for me. Seeing him living his truth made me love him even more, it made me accept who I was too.

My memories of him were the most happiest. I actually start to laugh out of no where thinking of how his flamboyant personality changed the energy in a room. I have so many great memories of my brother but the one I enjoyed the most were the few summers I spent with him and our older brother. Lord knows Sacramento California is pure hell in the summer. This particular summer day was the hottest of all time, at least that’s what it felt like. The picture above was taken on this hot day. So Boom! it was the summer of 2002. Nelly’s “Nellyville” came out and “Hot in here” was the song of the summer. My brother and I would go on our little adventures with his friends when I would go visit him in sac. Every time he heard any music including “Hot In Here”, he would twerk before twerk was a thing. We caught public transportation to his boyfriends house. His boyfriend’s family was so sweet and I made a special connection to my brother’s boyfriend’s mom. All his friends thought we looked so much alike, owe it to our father. My brothers friends were just as fun as he was. That was the first time I interacted with gay men and I loved it!  The community, the energy was of something out of this world. I could never understand why people were condemned fir being who they were.

My brother doing what he did best, cook.

My brother, his boyfriend, along with two other male friends and I took a trip to the mall. On the way there Nelly’s “Hot in Here” blared through the radio. I felt so cool I’m not going to lie. We all danced and sang along to the lyrics “You know dance in front your mirror while you’re on the phone
Checkin’ your reflection and tellin’ your best friend like girl I think my butt gettin big “! that was our favorite part. We had finally made it to the mall. My brother and I interlocked arms as we walked through the mall with his friends. We giggled, and laughed. Feeling the crisp air from the mall made me even more content. We decided to take pictures in the one hour photo place.. I know Y’all remember taking pictures in different poses looking like we were about to hit the red carpet, you know the one. Well, we were photo ready. We completely slayed each pose. After we finished posing like we were on the cover of vogue, we decided to go to the food court, eat, and wait for the pictures to develop. Thinking of that memory of my brother makes me smile. I can vividly still remember what he wore and how happy he was. An hour later we were walking arm and arm across the mall to One hour photo. We picked out the poses we liked, payed, and we made our way to the exit. Boys were trying to do their cat call but my brother wasn’t having it that day. That summer day with my brother ended perfectly and I will always hold onto that memory of him. My brothers and I had our separate lives in different cities but that never broke our sibling bond. I would spend some time with them on different occasions and each time we enjoyed eachother.

My brother started to become ill. He lost so much weight and I could tell something wasn’t right. The funny thing is, even when we talked on the phone or FaceTime, he always were in great spirits, he was bubbly. As time went by he grew sicker only to fund out he had cancer. My heart dropped when he told me the news. I knew better than to ask God what his plan was because he had already decided. After his chemotherapy treatments it seemed like it was killing him slowly. I would call and check up on him. Filled with sadness, his voice was soft and low as if he was shy. My brother was never shy, ever! you could hear him from Texas. So I knew that the chemo was attacking his body. One night his mom called me and my heart raced. In my mind I already knew the news, I just needed confirmation. My brother had been admitted to the hospital for having problems breathing. A sigh of relief came over me even though it sounds weird, but I held out for hope. All I could do was give it to the good lord and pray. A few days two days after being admitted I got the call from our oldest brother saying my brother wasn’t doing well. I immediately let my supervisor know that I wouldn’t be able to go into work the following day. I had a feeling it was time to say goodbye……

When my my older brother told me my brother wouldn’t make it through the night I broke down. My brother who I loved and adored was getting ready to leave me. I waited up that night. I was filled with so much sadness and anxiety. In a way I was relieved that I didn’t go to see him in person, I would gave been hysterical. I know he wasn’t completely alone but I wondered if my brother was scared, was he in pain? Our father decided that since his son was on his death bed that he would fly out and fulfill my brother’s wish, to see his father. Our father wasn’t around to raise us but that explanation I will discuss further in a future blog post. As I started to drift off to sleep my phone rang and I see my father’s name flash across my screen I knew what was going to be said before I picked up. My father said in a cold tone “He’s gone”.

I knew my brother didn’t have long but after he passed everything hit me all at once. I couldn’t think straight, my depression was triggered and I was overwhelmed by grief. I came to the realization that I wouldn’t hear my brother’s voice, or see his face, or experience his positive aura. I couldn’t hear him say “Wassup Sis, do I have to come down there and throw down? who made my sissy mad”? I’m chuckling thinking about it. My brother, my twin meant everything to me. The person he became to be opened my eyes and I discovered that the community he belonged to embraced him, supported him? brought him happiness. It’s been 6 months since he passed and I still think of him daily. I keep his ashes on my nightstand next to me and a big blown up picture of him on bedroom wall. I don’t think anyone who has experienced loss felt the same after. I try to think of the positive, he would have wanted me to. Losing a family member or sibling is never easy. You never fully recover, you just learn to cope and maneuver through life. Writing this post gives me the strength to support and stand behind the LGBTQ community just as I stood for my brother. This blog post is dedicated to you brother. We love you, and we miss you so much!

If you are struggling with a loss of a loved one please call the following numbers or look up local grief support groups in your area.

National Suicide prevention life line

1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project

1-866-488-7386

Nami

800-950-NAMI 

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