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Blood Brother

When my mother was carrying me, in her shame, she could not talk to anyone about the circumstances of my conception.  But there was going to be baby, even if it was a still birth, it had to be accounted for.  Maybe this isn't Sweden, but isn't Borneo either and certain statistics must be kept.  So my birth was registered  There was the town and the date and the mother's name: C, and her age (16) and her occupation (student).  And there was a "father's" name (not the real father, of course) M, and his age (17) and his occupation (laborer).
But who was M?  He was a neighbor boy who "liked" C and whom C "sort of liked."  M quickly married C and they loved and took care of each other for the next 70 years.  In his rough, vulgar, macho way, he was a lovely man whom i would have been proud to have for a dad, though i'm  certain we would not have gotten along well.

To ease the pain of losing her first child, she quickly conceived another, who was born about fourteen months after me.  I never met R.  He grew up strong, like his dad.  Like his grandfather, he was a musician and his mother had bought him an expensive guitar for the Christman of his nineteenth year.  Then the truck he was riding  in with three other boys went into a raging river.  Though he was by far the best swimmer of the four, he was the only one who drowned.  His body was found three months later, about the time he would have started studies at the local junior college. He had not yet turned nineteen.

I was a junior at college in Illinois that winter and i suddenly began to act weird.  It became urgent for me to find my biological mother, to help her in some unknown way.  After three months my weird behavior and thoughts and feelings went away..  I sometimes wonder whether something inside me felt my half brothers death and/or my mother's grief.

Many years later i met my mother and M, and i got to spend a few days with them scattered over a five year period before  Alzheimers and then death took them from me again.  I have seen pictures of R, he looks nothing like me, a handsome young man, just getting ready to go out and shake the world.

When C and M died they left a modest estate, a few hundred thousand dollars, surely less than a half million.*  That money went to establish a scholarship in R's name at the junior college he would have attended.  The scholarship will pay tuition, fees, and materials for "C" average students who otherwise would not be able to go to college.  This year, five students were given scholarships.

My three brothers and sister were my family, but they were not my blood.  I always felt a stranger in my own home.  I cut ties easily and completely when i finished high school.  Part of that i'm sure was my autism, part was probably a bad relationship with my father.
But some of might have been that my blood was flowing elsewhere, in some other family's veins.

So i think sometimes about my half brother, this young man who shared some of my genes

*Actually it a little more than $500,000.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2011 07:51 am (UTC)
that's really sad.

nothing to say you would have had this great relationship or anything, but even though i rarely see my brother, communication with him is easy, we talk, but we can also communicate with a look.

of my mother's family only two siblings had children, and of the four of us only one did, and we never see them. this, too, feels like a lack, from the other end of the telescope - end of line. my dad's siblings had children, and a couple of them have had children, again, there is no communication. it would be possible, just difficult and a bit pointless, i think.

Nov. 5th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, "family" is one of those things, i think, that autistic people don't "get" in the same way other people understand it; at least that is my experience. As an English autistic friend put it: "it is those things that I most want to give me joy that cause me the greatest pain." I spent my childhood trying to stay away from the people who wanted to love me.-- who probably did love me.
Nov. 5th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Family
you don't have to be autistic to find family difficult. actually, i think it's pretty *normal*.
Nov. 5th, 2011 09:57 am (UTC)
This affects my heart. I have not had your experiences but rather the opposite. I have a sister I'd rather not have even though she is blood family.
Beautifully written!
Nov. 5th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading this. I sort of hoped you would.
I also, as you know, have a difficult relationship with a sister (not biologica but by adoption) She is in no way a bad person, or even terribly intrusive; but when she does intrude she does so with a "truth" which i consider "pure fiction." It is a "truth" which, in her opinion, endangers my eternal future. No wonder she is intrusive! No wonder i chose to avoid her. Since she considers Dianne (a Roman Catholic) among the damned, it is especially troublesome. I am thankful sometimes for my autism which prevents me from getting upset by all this (i would prefer that it be because of spiritual growth instead.)
Nov. 5th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
I read everything you write. Often I have nothing to offer in a comment and just enjoy your references and words.

At least my sister isn't foisting a religious belief system on me, just her own personal view of how badly treated she always feels and how awful I/we are. I would shut out someone like your sister as well as it would make me very upset indeed. I was raised Roman Catholic and live in a traditionally Catholic society here in Spain. While I am no longer a practicing Catholic I do understand a lot of what the traditions here are about and that's a good thing. So many people don't. Though I have to say that Spaniards are not very formally religious at all.
I'm glad your autism is helpful in keeping you from being upset by your sister's intrusiveness...for that is what it is, in my opinion.

Nov. 5th, 2011 11:57 am (UTC)
Life is full of strange currents.

Thanks for writing about some of yours.
Nov. 5th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
When i thought about doing this journal, i decided that it would focus on my spiritual search. (At the time i would have said "narrowly" focus). The stuff on economics, politics, and personal life, even religion, i was going to keep to myself. Part of this was a Buddhist/Jewish/Motherly idea that if you say anything it should be 1) truthful, 2) useful, and 3) give pleasure to someone without causing pain to anyone.

You could have told me that that project was nonsense, spirituality is not a category of experience, it is not an institution; it is a different way of looking at everything, and even more a way of looking at nothing.

As podhopper suggests, this sort of post may "tug at the heartstrings" of some people.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 5th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
Re: The saddest words are these...it might have been
When people's obituaries say they died when they were older than i was when i read the obituary, i have a sense of "completion," that this person reached the appropriate end of his or her earthly journey and is ready for the next step.

When a person dies at a younger age, i also feel that this was tragic, that the journey was cut too short too soon.

Now i am thinking about these young and dead people, Do their deaths really lack meaning. Not a sparrow falls without God's acknowledgement, it was said, and every hair on my head is numbered (Meaning, i think, that nothing is too small or insignificant as to lack spiritual meaning.

R's death was a tragedy for C, and especially, i think, for M. I saw evidence that M grieved until his dying day. I do not know whether the dead retain self consciousness, i think not. But i do not believe in damnation; whatever happens beyond this life, it is as it should be, which is a lot more than i can say for what happens here.
Nov. 6th, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
such a moving story out of your history. thank you for sharing from your heart to ours.
Nov. 7th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
Because of my autism, i am always puzzled when others find my personal life interesting. So, thank you.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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