I really want to go see the new movie, Dark Shadows, that just came out. I remember Dark Shadows being on TV, but I don't actually remember anything about it. I suspect I wan't allowed to watch. Probably why I remember it is because my older brother, Kenny, wasn't allowed to watch it. It gave him bad dreams, and he would fall out of bed. Kenny was 6 1/2 years older than me, but until I was about 6 or so, we shared a double bed. At this remove, I don't recall whether his nightmares were a danger to him or me. I do remember that when we got bunk beds, my big brother got the bottom bunk because of his proclivity to fall out, so maybe he was always more a danger to himself.
I imagine it would be fun to see the movie with Kenny, but that isn't possible. He died nearly thirty years ago, in a house fire. It's probably fair to say I miss him more now than I did then, even though that doesn't reflect all that well on me I suppose. I keep a picture of him on the wall of our stairway; amongst the mostly dead ancestors. I was telling my daughter about him just the other day and we went and looked at him and then all the other pictures as I shared their stories.
I feel bad for my brother, his life was tragic - beginning to end - and I wonder now if he ever really knew happiness or contentment. He had a different mother from me. His mother, Janice, became gravely ill when he was just a baby and spent much of his life in the hospital I'm told and died when Kenny was only six. Later, he married a young woman also named Janice, who died from a brain aneurysm. In between were troubled years, difficulty at school, difficulty at home. He must have wondered who loved him.
I've spent a lot of time over a lot of years wondering about, and more recently, praying for my brother. I find myself praying for his mother as well. My origins lie somewhere in her sickness and death; we are in some way connected. Learning about her, her sickness, her desires for her children, my father and my mother's relationship with her has been helpful to learn about who I am. I like Bowen family systems theory, but untangling the mess that is my family of origin isn't easy. Those long-ago tragedies are, if you will, dark shadows that shift the color of my life.
So, I think I will go see the movie, and laugh (hopefully) and remember and live. I will live, I will remember and be thankful for the whole company of saints who went before. Our lives are formed and touched by so many others in so many ways that are beyond our understanding or even knowledge sometimes. Happy Mother's day Janice, God bless you.