It's been one of those days again. The kind when I'm barely hanging on to the tightrope of my emotions. My eyes have been burning with unshed tears all day. I don't know why.
It could be that I ran into the mother of my brother's best friend when he was a kid. She hugged me like it was my brother she was hugging. She told me she loved me.
It could be that Summer Slam, a big WWE event, is on tonight, and normally my brother would be at my house with his big, disgusting feet at one end of the sofa and his arm thrown over his head at the other.
It could be because it's a Sunday. Or it's raining. Or it's August 21st. Or it's sundown. Or any other inconsequential thing. It's just one more day without my big brother.
Most people would say I've been the rock of my family. I was the one who made all the funeral arrangements. I held it together that week when we had friends and family at the house. I was the one who answered the phone calls. Now, I'm the one my mom calls when she's having a bad day. I'm the one who goes to my grandmother's house to talk her down from the crazy, old lady ledge. I'm the one putting together this 5k fundraiser. I'm the strong one.
I'm the stone cold, stoic, tin man with no heart. My brother was the one who cried at the drop of a hat. Irony, right?
So, it's days like these that I feel like I'm drowning. I'm like Alice when she drinks the bottle to make her grow, and she cries big fat giant tears and they fill up the room, almost drowning her.
But then she drinks the other stuff and shrinks down to fit into the tiny bottle, and she flows through the key hole into the ocean. Then those weird birds dance around her.
That's me. Maybe I fell down a rabbit hole, and I'm having a crazy acid trip of a dream. Maybe I'll wake up, and my brother will still be alive. Maybe.
Really, though, I'm just trying to hold my breath for as long as I can while I meet this wave head on. I'm trying to not hit my head on any sharp rocks as it drags me around, spins me upside down. I'm trying to swim to the top, see the sunlight through the murky waters. I'm trying to reach for whatever lifesaver I can, the goddamn half a door Rose wouldn't share with Jack.
It's eight months later, and I'm trying. We're all trying. I'm just wondering how much further I have to swim until my legs stop cramping up and the saltwater stops burning my eyes.
This grief thing is hard. But as Christopher Jackson as George Washington once sang Lin Manuel's lyrics, "Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder." You fucking got that right.