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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Learned the Hard Way

I was driving around today, erranding, and listening to the soundtrack of Somewhere in Time, which I consider rather beautiful and very romantic. Which made me think how much my brother, who was one of the most romantic souls ever, would have loved it. I doubt he ever heard it, and I never thought to play it for him. He died on June 1st of this year.

I didn't have very much contact with my brother in the last 15 years or so of his life, after I moved to Indiana (he lived in Southern and then Northern California). He had chronic fatigue syndrome most of that time, and didn't answer the phone much, let alone make trips across country -- though he did manage to come once, early on. I visited my parents in L.A. once or twice a year, but it never seemed like the time to go visit him instead, or in addition.

I'm sure that one reason I didn't try harder to stay in touch was that I have tended to suppress some sides of myself that were much like him -- sentimental, easily moved, easily agitated, embarrassingly open. When we spoke, we usually had a warm and loving exchange. But I was always on guard against our contact somehow becoming invasive, threatening my boundaries or my way of coping with the world. I was not entirely content with this delicate balance -- but I didn't know there was any urgency about changing it. His chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms masked the earlier stages of small cell lung cancer. He lived less than three months after he was diagnosed.

So I drive around town, trying not to cry too much for safety (there's a phrase with two meanings...), wishing I'd been able to share this music with him -- and inviting him, if he somehow can, to listen to it with me now.

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