You know that feeling when someone passes away, but you don’t really know them, and you feel for the people that have lost them? That’s me this week.
As the usual reader knows, my brother-from-another-mother is a man named Kevin. A brief backstory on Kevin’s family tells us that he was adopted. In his early teen years, he discovered he had two sisters, Jessica and Melissa. This delighted the boy who wanted family, as all kids do, and he was happy. Over the years, he has grown closer to both of them. I know Jess pretty well, as we are almost the same age and she lives in state, while Melissa, the youngest, has been elsewhere for some time. We’d met a few times, but I don’t know her the way I know Jess.
The other night, I woke up around 2am, for no reason. There was a text from Kev on my phone, stating that his little sister had died. I knew he meant Melissa, in the way that I sometimes know things. He wasn’t awake at 2am, but I wanted to hop in my car and drive to his house and hug him, because ohmygod, I would be crushed.
I was a little crushed. She was too young, it was a tragic accident, and it hurts when someone you know passes, no matter what your relationship. And then, I ached for Jessica, who grew up alongside her sister, and Kevin, who I think always wanted that chance, to grow with siblings. I mean, we always had each other, and I consider him to be the brother I never had, but it isn’t the same, especially when you’re an adopted kid looking for some sort of tether to your heritage.
He went to Tennessee the next day, where Melissa lived. Were it a decade ago, I would have dropped what I was doing and gone with him, but alas, it is not. Instead, I went to work, but I worried all day. I worried for my friend, and hoped he would be alright out there, and when he came home, he described the whole experience as “intense,” and I suppose that is probably the best word to use. I felt intensely when I heard she was gone, not for myself, but for her siblings that loved her so much. I felt sad because I always meant to hang out with her, for real, as adults…and I will never get that chance. But furthermore, her family will never get the chance to see her grow and change and become more herself, and that is what makes me sad.
I am sad for my friend Jessica. I am heartbroken for my brother, Kevin. But I have no direct contact to Melissa, so I feel almost fraudulent in my emotions, as though I have no right to have them. Alas, I know, through years of therapy, that all emotions are valid, and embracing them isn’t the end of the world. So, I will accept that I feel terrible, but I know it is only because people I love are hurting.
Perhaps the gods will grant me some magic words to say to make it all better. Probably not, though.