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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Life and death and other blasé subjects 
Saturday, April 11th, 2009 | 10:47 pm [personal]
Steve

Two days ago someone I knew died. He was my brother’s housemate, but was not a friend of mine. I didn’t much like him — I found it obsequious, the way he would talk to me as though we were old pals when I probably spoke three sentences to him his entire life and found it difficult to occupy the same room as him most of the time. I feel bad for his family, especially his parents. The worst thing, I imagine, that can happen to a mother and a father has happened to them. Our parents aren’t meant to bury us. We are meant to bury them. But I feel nothing more for his family than I have felt for victims of hurricanes and earthquakes. My heart goes out to them, but only so far. They are strangers. I don’t grieve with them.

 

I feel worse for my brother than I do for the family of the dead. He is my brother, and I love him, and he’s lost a friend. When I learned of this Thursday night, there was a horrible period of about thirty minutes when I feared for my brother. The death resulted from a motorcycle accident, but I didn’t find that out until a few hours later. All I knew at first was “accident” and “death,” and that my girlfriend had gotten off the phone after hearing the news and said to me that I’d better call my mother.

 

Mom hadn’t heard. All I told her was that there had been an accident. Why worry her needlessly, I figured. I asked if she’d heard from my brother. She hadn’t. He was supposed to be out of town. He shouldn’t have been with his housemate that night. There was nothing to worry about, she told me, not knowing what “accident” really meant. I told her to call my brother and get back to me, and sat on the couch waiting for my phone to ring, “he shouldn’t have been there” running back and forth through my head.

 

I talked to my brother eventually. He was fine, on his way to see the family of the dead. I called Mom to put her mind at ease, still not telling her that the guy her younger son’s roommate was dead. She found out eventually and called me back a final time that night. I wanted to make sure everything was all right from our end before I let her in on the whole story, I told her.

 

And everything was all right, from our end.

Comments 
Sunday, April 12th, 2009 | 06:28 am (UTC) - Give some thought, dude
Anonymous
You could have just said he died. And who cares if you "don't grieve with them"? Who cares, I ask you????? What is this sentence if nothing but purely self-important narcissistic bullshit? The kid is dead; Christ, be happy that he isn't around to *annoy* you anymore and just have some decency and discretion and say, "Someone I knew died two days ago." Period.
Sunday, April 12th, 2009 | 01:49 pm (UTC) - Re: Give some thought, dude
Wouldn't just writing "someone I knew died" without explaining why I felt compelled to write about it be self-important and narcissistic, too?

My point wasn't to diminish the suffering of the family, or to say "Hey, someone I know died and I don't care." I do care. I don't grieve for my loss because I haven't lost anything. Others have, and I feel for them. My purpose was to try to express what it's like when someone you don't necessarily like suddenly dies. I've seen some people react to that situation by pretending to have loved the dead person all along. My reaction was more selfish.

I don't think I come off particularly well in the article. Is mine the reasonable reaction of a compassionate person? I feel like it isn't. Maybe feeling the way I feel makes me a bad person. Maybe writing about it here makes me a bad person.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Monday, April 13th, 2009 | 01:17 pm (UTC)
Wow Steve, I guess you really didn't like Ryan Myers. :( He couldn't have been that bad if your brother liked him, right? I don't even know what the word "obsequious" actually means. I'm guessing it's not good....

Do you know the area where he was killed? The newspaper article only said that he was traveling at a "high rate of speed", but they didn't actually say what the speed was, nor did they report what the speed limit there was. That seemed kind of strange to me.
Monday, April 13th, 2009 | 01:26 pm (UTC)
I do know the area he was killed. It was right in front of the Pilot Travel Center where I used to work, just off I-70 on Greencastle Pike. I'm not sure what the speed was, but it must have been a lot. I believe he was coming off the interstate and ran into a truck that was pulling out from the parking lot. If memory serves, the speed limit there is around 30, though it might be 40 — I don't really remember. Either one of those is way slower than what Ryan was probably doing on his motorcycle.

It's not so much that I didn't like him . . . I mean, I didn't, and the fact that he died tragically doesn't suddenly make him a great guy. The night it happened, I was worried about making sure my brother, who hung out with him a lot and, from what I knew at the time, could have been there too, was okay. I felt horrible for the family, for what they suffered.

Then I learned that his viewing was going to be held at a local megachurch and last six hours on Easter, and would be followed two days later by a public funeral. After that, most of my sympathy for the family went away.
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