And then there were three.

My mother called me while I was working late this evening. I didn’t answer. I often don’t when she calls as it’s generally not good news when I hear from her. I waited to call her back when I finally left the office and was on my way home. I wasn’t going to call, but she’d accidentally called again and not hung up, and so I heard a conversation between her and my nephew, who apparently was at the house. My mother talked of calling everyone, but being unable to reach me or my nephews. I knew then something very bad had happened and I’d better return her call. So I did on the 183 flyover.

“Are you home?”

“No, I’m on my way home from work. What’s up?”

“I wanted to wait until you were home to tell you so you wouldn’t get upset while you’re driving.”

“Just tell me now.”

“Alright, Mike died at home. They found him this morning.”

Mike, my oldest brother, who’s struggled with alcoholism for as long as I can remember. He’d been on the wagon for about seven years and living a happy, productive life, when his fiance died of a head injury. His fiance was also an alcoholic, but she was drinking. Several years ago, she fell, hit her head, went into a coma, and died. That’s when he started drinking again. And he didn’t stop even when he lost his job. I’ve been waiting for it to happen. I knew it was inevitable. Just as I know it’s inevitable with my other brother. Also an alcoholic. To read about why I thought my mother was calling to tell me a different brother had died, go here. Actually, it was a toss-up who would go first.

What can you do at a time like this but be ironic?

Sometimes it amazes me that I hold it all together and stay above the surface, happy, most of the time. Unlike my brothers, I don’t think there’s an alternative.

None of the remaining three siblings have spoken with each other today. No one other than my mother has called me. And I won’t call them.

At least my brother no longer is pining for his lost love, heartbroken and bereft. That gives me some comfort.


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