i suppose if there is a lesson to be learned it is not matt’s lesson. it is my lesson. do not shirk your family. family being whomever you choose to be your family, biological or not. eventually at some point in your life you will have a group of people that you consider your family, people you are close to and have shared experiences with. do not let them go, and when they’re in town, see them. talk to them. enjoy their existence because they will not exist forever. the problem is that i have not enjoyed my own existence for so long now that i’m like a darkness that can’t be penetrated, a darkness that sits in darkness and wallows in darkness, who comes home and starts to play a video game to drown out the numbness pervading my entire body. i don’t like being alive is the feeling deep in my gut, and god, who apparently is some perverse trickster god, makes me feel bad by giving me a relatively healthy body that i destroy with bad food and too much sugar. this is my punishment for hating myself. meanwhile my brother, a happy, healthy man with a beautiful family, is struck with colon cancer, the kind that would have continued unabated if it weren’t for fatigue and anemia, the kind that didn’t even hurt. to die at his age would be terrifying, but at least he can say that he lived a good life, had lots of friends and loved ones.
i … i have this theory, that if god exists, then a person’s death coincides with learning, say, enlightenment. the grand secret. whatever you want to call it. we spend our lives yearning for reason, to understand why we’re here. it’s always on the tip of our tongue why we’re here. always something swimming at the edges of our consciousness, and we strive every day to figure it out, either consciously or unconsciously. and i think some people figure it out, and that’s when they die. like, god speaks to them the secret of the universe which is what kills them. this is why buddha is so important, or people like buddha who have reached enlightenment, because they have learned it and have the strength of spirit to not die. maybe the secret is so mind-blowing that it actually kills you, you know what i mean?
people like my brother are just closer to finding out the secret than an asshole like me. but really i think matt is more like a buddha than any of us; i think he found the secret years ago and just happened to stave off death due to his unwavering spirit. that’s kind of a morbid way to think about that, but that’s what i think. he didn’t actively search for it, either. it just came to him and he’s lived with it ever since, unaware that he even contains it, and meanwhile i’ve been scrambling to figure out how to be more like him, which is, ironically perhaps, prolonging my own sad stupid life.
i don’t know where i’m going with this, other than that i just want my brother to be okay and for his cancer to have some kind of meaning, some purpose, and i think if there is a lesson to be learned, it’s that your time on earth is special because you have a self-aware consciousness that strives to find more to life than just sustenance and procreation. we are trying to fill a hole brought about by higher intelligence, by supreme wisdom, by language and culture and art. we think these things fill us but really they just keep us open and looking for more, looking for context, trying to find meaning and purpose in each of our lives. this wasn’t a wake up call for matt, it was a wake up call for all of us, and for me at least, a call to combat complacency. i won’t forget that. i can’t forget that. when other people sacrifice for you, you don’t let them down.