Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One Year Down

The first anniversary of Kyle's death was sometime last weekend. Depending on your definition of "death," he passed on the 5th or the 7th, but when I think about it I start on the 4th, Independence Day, red and white and smelling like grill smoke. Kyle and his friends took a train to the beach for what I think was a concert and stayed overnight. It was the next day, the 5th, around 7 pm, when he fell. I'm not clear on the details. They've been explained to me many times, but in my mind the moving train, the ascending ladder, the platform, the pool of blood, and my brother are a sickly blur. He hit his head, his brain died, and if you believe that life has to do with personality and consciousness, then that's when he died.

They brought his body to the hospital and put it on life support. By the time I arrived midday on the 6th, I was told that he still looked alive, like he was in a coma. Like there might be some hope, when of course there wasn't.

At first, I didn't want to see him. He had hit his head. What if I didn't recognize him? Or couldn't look at him? Or got sick? Or fainted? But by the time I got to him he'd been cleaned up. One side of his face was bandaged, and the other looked just like it always had. His eye was open a bit and it was like if I stared in hard enough, I could get a message through. His hands were warm and a little swollen. His skin was so soft - like mine and my mom's - and he had beautiful wrists. He was all beautiful, even banged up. Dead.

They harvested his organs shortly after midnight on the morning of the 7th. If you believe life has to do with the body - blood and breathing and a beating heart - then that's when he died.

A few nights ago, I watched a new reality show called Hopkins. It follows the staff of John Hopkins Hospital around while they perform miracles and fight with their spouses. It's a good show, but on this particular episode a donor body was being harvested and teams of surgeons and nurses with flashing tools and disturbingly mundane coolers were swarming the hospital bed. I closed my eyes, but in the breathless second before I realized that that's what they did to Kyle. They swarmed him - shouting, messy, efficient - sliced his parts, and sewed him up lighter than before.

So those are the dates. Melancholy fireworks on through the 7th. There's also the 13th - the day we buried him and the day he was born. Plenty to pick from if you're looking for an anniversary. His last trip, his last train ride, his last thought, his last breath, his last moments above ground.


I miss you. Rest in peace.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I frequently check back on your blog for posts; my 1 year w/o my brother was August 6. It was very hard as it's 1 day after my birthday and we had a special routine for birthdays...

I hope you're doing well. I am hoping you have some peace - I'm trying to find mine.