I know it's been awhile since I have posted
Four months actually
On March 13th at 5:20AM my brother Shaun took his own life.
He would have been 48 yesterday.
My brother however was not suicidal nor depressed. He was a successful and much loved teacher at Lincoln Park High School for the Performing Arts. He taught stage combat, stage movement and his classes filled up instantly. He was a father of two children he ended up raising on his own after his divorce. He had a show called a Pirate's Tale being produced just outside of New York. Life was good.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Out of revenge for reasons I can't get into here, someone planted 15 CD's of child pornography in his room and went to the police to falsely accuse him.
The police kicked down the door that night.
It didn't matter if he was innocent. They took his children and he knew his career would be over.
I got the call that Sunday. My mother was there. Shaun was inconsolable.
He told me, "Kevin, no matter what happens, I love you..."
I knew that tone. I knew what it meant."Oh, no you don't. You don't get to do that. You promise me you are not going to do anything."
He promised, but it was the only promise he ever broke. Even if I bought a ticket that second I wouldn't be back in time.
My mother talked with him into the night. He went upstairs, made his kid's beds and wrote a twelve page note.
He then hung himself in the shower.
My mother found him the next morning.
The call came in at 5:30AM Los Angeles time. I saw that it was my mother and I knew.
The wailing didn't even sound human. The rest I don't remember. I somehow managed to book a ticket home. I looked at my phone and saw twenty conversations I don't recall having.
I flew home the next day to the chaos and heartbreak.
Pittsburgh. The city I grew up in.
The funeral was packed. Hundreds and hundreds of people. Parents, students, teachers and friends. No one believed the allegations which hit all of the news outlets within 48 hours.
Except for the rest of my family. Besides my mother's brother, no one from our family came to the funeral.
I watched as my parents read the headlines accusing my brother.
There is no category to file this memory under.
In the weeks to come, detectives would now be working hard to clear his name, having found nothing incriminating whatsoever.
I feel on some level their kindness was a result of how they treated him that night.
Messages of heartbreak from his students and their parents have now entered the thousands.
But until his name is cleared I shamble through a barren field of longing.
I watch my aged parents decline. The sound of my mother weeping is the saddest sound on earth.
More times in five weeks than in the entirety of my fifty years. Sit with that. More than the collective sorrow of a lifetime emptied into a span of just over a month.
You search for normal but there is none. He will always be gone. My parents slowly crawl to their own ends. His house a crypt frozen in time. You take what you can but the collections of a life will simply be abandoned.
Burn it all down, child...
I will post art again. Just not now.
Images now are just too immediate. Too visceral and too imbued with expected meaning.
I walk now through a fire set by others.
But I will continue to walk.
People try to help as they can. But as Robert Frank said, "The wind of sorrow will blow through everyone's life in time."
You recognize immediately the ones who sorrow has not touched yet.
I'm sorry, my friends but someday it will rip open your door without asking.
You will be given a capricious song of lament that will never stop playing and from a hidden room you cannot access.
Yes it gets better, but the song never ceases. Ever.
The wave will come because it's Tuesday. And you cannot control it's coming.
Grief is an unpredictable tide whose seasons have no calendar.
Why I post this today, I do not know.
When I will post art again, I too do not know.
But I will...