Sometimes, Everything Does Change: Or, Getting Evicted From Your Life

My brother was diagnosed with brain cancer exactly two years ago today: November 4, 2014. For those who follow politics, that was Election Day — a clear Tuesday here in the suburbs of New York. Autumn had given us one of those perfectly crisp mornings you were sure would open up to a beautiful afternoon. It seemed a rare gift: After all, I was off from work that day. (Ah, freedom can be so sweet — sweetest when it’s taken from you.) My plans were to vote in the late morning, have a relaxing lunch, then spend the rest of the afternoon at the mall.

Of course, my best laid plans went awry somewhere around 11 a.m. My mother called to tell me that Matt had collapsed in his house before going to work. The headaches that had plagued him for several weeks had grown more severe. An ambulance took him to a local hospital, where scans revealed a large tumor that lay deep inside his brain.

Maybe one day I’ll tell you the whole story. There was no happy ending — just a protracted lurch toward this precise moment, as I sit here typing another eulogy, the latest but not the last attempt to conform to this ruthless reality. Look, I know that “everything changed” is a banality. But how else can I say it? On November 3, 2014, my family and I had a life we will never have again. It’s as though we were all abruptly evicted by a capricious repo man, and forced to sleep in the fields behind our former homes as others moved in. I am very slowly assimilating to this lonely hinterland.


UPDATE: I have cross-posted this to Medium. It’s available here.

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