Biographical Non-Fiction posted August 20, 2019

This work has reached the exceptional level
A spark back to life after a family death

Sink or Swim

by pbomar1115

My life changed. It required me to restore my associations (in my situation — a stronger defense) if I wanted to keep my world as I have it. That’s how a single guy with no girlfriend thinks. Sink or swim. My mother’s death demanded me to review or renew my relationships with my youngest brother. He and I had not seen each other in at least thirty years, so we did some catching up. I learned that he lives in Dallas, sometimes Fort Worth, and sometimes Plano. When he visits now I’d call, but I still don’t know where he lives. At any rate, we’ve gotten closer and closure from our mother's passing. The death of my mother shut down my writing, my daily inclination.

From our beginning, my brother has been the upholder of the spiritual connection with my mother’s family and friends. Not me, even though I’m the oldest.  Just to give you an idea of his winning ways, during a family gathering in the backyard of one of my mother sister's house under the shade trees where lots of food to stuff ourselves, he’d entertain my cousins and aunts. He’d impersonate a political figure such as John F. Kennedy. My little brother would stiffen his posture, suck in a quick breath and in a whiny voice says, “It’s not what your country can do for you” while pointing a finger at one of the titillated family members “but what you can do for your country”. Their excitement would always shoot up, forcing my connection to the family to widen. 

My brother was in my mother’s apartment when I visited her for the last time. This was special. Although he dresses in African garb, it surprised me to see a clean-shaven head, instead of the dreadlocks. Time changes us. True to their closeness, he’d been there answering the phone, saying what she needed him to say, lifting her from the bed to go to the bathroom, and answering the ring of the golden bell placed on the nightstand next to the bed. He was there for her every need.  

My mother lying there in bed with an oxygen mask covering her face, concealing her true weakness. I believed she would bounce back because she'd always excluded me from certain knowledge and family socialization. She didn’t mean harm. It was her way of raising her three boys. We lost the middle brother in 2012. Anxiously,  I left her the 26th of January, believing I could concentrate on my writing by cutting off phone contact to work on my writing. It was the day my mother passed. 

I learned of my mother’s passing a week later when my little brother showed up at my door at midnight on Saturday. He drove me home leaving his girlfriend with my mother the day of her passing. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have known where I lived. My brother knew the disaffection between me and the family connections and wisely assembled the right people to help him bury my mother. Both he and I knew I would impede her homecoming. I knew it, but they still left me in a funk for months. Occasionally, I despairingly reviewed stories and poems on Fanstory, searching for a way out of my dismal condition until a dear friend responded. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN????? No way- I’m mad at you. I need explanations—and fast. I’ve been worried sick!"

I sucked up those foreign feelings, jumped back in the pool of the writers by taking my first stroke to life with this piece.   




A had no way out of the funk until a dear friend said those magic words. " I'm mad at you. I need explanations--and fast." Those words came like a gust of wind, blowing the funk away like dust.
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