My parents were going crazy trying to find my brother’s ‘wishes’ like we didn’t just keep him in a box (and in several film canisters I carry around with me sometimes when I’m feeling particularly bad) for the rest of her life, probably the rest of his life, and maybe even the rest of my life, on a shelf in the background of my stupid instagram videos like, there is my brother, my mother, my father and my cat I neglected at my parent’s like the terrible human monster I am. And I walk in and find it right on his desktop. In the center of his desktop, on a document labeled final instructions. I guess my parents thought sudden, hysterical blindness is a really good excuse to force your twenty year old daughter to have such a bullshit cinematic moment. (In case anyone cares: he wanted to be scattered at all the ends of the island. We have two dead end roads running north and south along the coast. We also have a road that goes east up to Harriet Hunt Lake. Mine would be the same if it had been me. And the beach, down the hill from our house.)
After the Burial is also this like…place I could go. For a while. And it made me think about my family for the first time in a long time. Without immediately ordering myself to stop thinking about that because it could accidentally lead to feelings. Or without reminding myself well, they’re dead, so. At the same time, I felt really good about how we were for that short time. My dad wasn’t even being a dick to me about my latest boyfriend because we all knew my brother was going to die. We used to go on these drives to the end of the island and back. And in a way, I wondered if those words were for me. Like, that he’ll be here only here is here, so I can’t leave. Even if I wanted to or even if I suddenly had the ability to. I hold onto the ashes anyway. I can’t let them go. It’s stupid. But I’m too literary (not like quality of writing literary but just that I do write and have written and read things and watched movies) to think it would make any difference. Like, a big cathartic letting go. There really is so little of him left anyway. No one remembers anymore. Just me. But After the Burial of Dog Stanley made me feel ok about remembering them even though the family and experiences described through the beautiful words and artwork are completely different from me and my family.
But there’s a similarity, always, in missing someone. A quality of absence and the hyper-real presence of memory, I tried to convey, clumsily in my own writing. Even if no one ever sees it, my best efforts and the better person I used to be with them, when we were all together and sort of okay, is preserved. It’s a wonderful book and I wish this blog reached more than five people because everyone has lost someone and maybe it could help them remember, too.