Good Grief, Rafael

It’s been six months since my brother died. Not enough time to mourn.  After all, how can you let go of someone who was so important to you? My go-to person for all of life’s questions no matter how complex or simple. 

What kind of car should I buy, I once asked him.

Toyota Camry.  And I did.

What about college? Where should my kids go?

Far from home, so that they learn to be independent, he replied.

The last question I ever asked him had to do with my son and whether I should insist he visit me for the holidays. Answer:  Yes. Absolutely.

And he did.

He was the best brother I could ever have. Fair and open minded, sensible, compassionate, and downright funny. He always made me laugh.  He loved when I visited and I did so often. We spent a lot of time together and he loved us with all his heart.

I miss him. The loss is incredibly deep. I think of him all the time. My brother, my mentor.

My hero.

But I’ve been keeping busy. 

Saw a therapist for a few sessions. She told me there’s good grief and bad.  You mean, crying out to him and asking him to take me with him isn’t considered good??

Nevertheless, she said, ignoring my question, I’ve been doing all the right things. That it’s okay to cry. Getting distracted by other activities also helpful.

Like taking more improv classes and signing up for Standup Comedy lessons. True, I had no idea I’d be performing my standup act after six weeks. Nor I was I planning to perform for all the world to see!  Sheesh, performing was nerve wracking to say the least, but I did it. And, in the end, I was told that my comedic timing was spot on. Which made me very happy, indeed.

I’ve continued my piano lessons and my piano instructor is trying to persuade me to perform in a piano recital this coming June. How many ways can I say no, I wonder?

Plus, I still have my movie pass that allows me to see up to three movies a week.  Let’s just say I’ve now officially seen all the movies nominated for an Oscar in the best picture category. Tah-dah!

I look at my brother’s prayer card every day. It’s the one we had made for the funeral. In the photo he is wearing his glasses and smiling.  As if he’s glad to see me. I use the prayer card as a bookmark in whatever book I’m reading. 

I keep it close. Always.

My friend  Lois, told me that if I give her one of the prayer cards–I have a few left–she’ll say a prayer for him during mass.  I think that’s very kind, especially since I am not a church-going person. It’s good to know someone of good ilk is on his side.

I think what amazes me most about my brother, was discovering after his passing, just how much he was doing in the area of Diversity and Inclusion.  How he was serving as a mentor for young lawyers of color, giving them advice and, more importantly, opportunities to gain experience in the field and shine.

My brother was a hero to many, and he was especially a hero to me.

10 thoughts on “Good Grief, Rafael

    • Thank you, Carl. The joy he left me is boundless. He was my rock, my good cheer. The laughs were endless, but a light went out the day he died. It was quite sudden. No time for goodbyes.

  1. Hello Monica, nice to see you posting.
    Sorry to hear about your brother, my thoughts are with you.

    I have never had a brother or sister, I was an only child. I once asked my parents if hey would have liked more children and their reply was that I was more that enough and that I had been ten minutes of pleasure and a lifetime of hard work!! Mind you mum was smiling when she said it.

    Not a fan of therapists, in this neck of the woods it is the norm to nip next door for a chat with the neighbour over tea/coffee and a cup of cake, far cheaper.

    At the moment I am still trying to get my head round you doing stand up comedy!! I hope that you’re getting great pleasure from all your activities.

    You take care and perhaps you could do a video of your comedy then we can all become critics!!

    • Oh, Robert. Where would we be without your wry humor? Thank you for always bring a grin to my face. For being so kind, and clever, too. You remind me of all those British comedies. There’s always one with a sense of humor like yours. And no, you’ll never see my standup act. That was a one-time only thing. I thought I was just taking a class, not getting ready for my 15 minutes. It was fun but mortifying. Sheesh.

      • Humour can be tricky Monica, it can be very personal. You can tell somebody a joke one day and they don’t find it funny, tell them a month later and they curl up laughing.

        I hate jokes that are so long they turn a monologue into an epilogue. Short, sharp and quick. Rather like me, well short and sharp maybe, not as quick as I used to be.

  2. Monica! How happy I am to see your post today! I’ve been keeping you in my prayers, my friend, and I’m glad to hear you’re doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. When my dad died, my mom went into a “blue funk” for a solid year, and when my first dog died, I cried for months afterward. There’s no timetable for grief. It comes to all of us, and we all have to muddle through as best we can.

    Good for you, keeping busy. I refuse to do a flute recital, but I’ll bet a piano recital would be a breeze for you, especially after doing stand-up. A good therapist can be most helpful, too. You don’t mention little Oliver, but I’ll bet he’s been a comfort to you during this time.

    Your brother sounds like an amazing man. You were blessed to have each other in your lives. Siblings make the roads we travel more enjoyable, and nobody truly knows us the way they do. Hang in there, and thanks for letting us know what’s going on in your world.

    • Thank you so much, Debbie! I so appreciate your kind, loving words.

      My brother truly was amazing. I think about him everyday. He was the best brother in the world. Always made us laugh with his silly ways. Devoted father, true blue brother. Miss him every single day. Nothing will ever be the same.
      Ironically, my opening joke in my standup act was about my brother and Henry. Even in death I find humor. Go figure! 😉

  3. Oh Monica, I am so sorry. I haven’t been here or anywhere for a while and to read this made me so very sad for you. Grief is a terrible and personal thing, no one can tell you how to do it ‘right’ there is only how you do it, how you go through it. Each of us, on our own have to find our path. I sounds like you are finding yours.

    Congratulations on your stand up! Personally? Do the recital!

    • It’s okay, Val. I haven’t been around much as it’s been rather hard for me. My brother was there for me after both my parents died many years ago. He became my advisor, confidante. I can’t imagine life going on without him. I’m at a loss, but trying to move on.

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