I feel like a fraud. Or at least sometimes I feel like a fraud. It’s all so complicated and I haven’t told people how complicated it is because it’s gross and it’s hard and it’s a lot. It’s the not telling people that makes me feel like a fraud. I’m not so strong, really. I’m not so brave. See, the thing of it is, the brother they killed? He was also my abuser. My molester. From as early as I can remember until I was 12 or 13, my oldest brother sexually molested me. There. I said it and it can’t be taken back and it’s done.
So, you can see how that makes everything complicated. The need for victim offender mediation, the need for understanding, the need for finding some kind of happy medium (as if that even exists), all of it is so much more saturated with crazy emotions than just the run-of-the-mill, my-brother-got-murdered-and-now-I’m- gonna-meet-with-his-murderers type thing. Or maybe there is no run of the mill, or whatever.
That’s part of the reason why I’m doing this: they stole my justice. Those boys–and that’s what they were when it happened, boys–stole my opportunity for reconciliation. They took away my chance at having a real brother in him. Yet, they also took away the need to ever have those hard conversations. There is some relief in that. Living in denial meant I didn’t have to stand up for myself. Living in denial meant I could pretend like the relationship with my parents was normal, the relationship with my other brother was normal– that hard conversations didn’t have to happen unless I decided they would and for a long time I decided they wouldn’t. So yeah, there was relief in that… until there wasn’t anymore. Then it came crashing in like a weight to heavy to bear and reality was all around me.
Yet, in some ways they stole my ability to deal with my reality. When Aaron was murdered, I hadn’t even admitted to myself that it had happened, let alone anyone else. It was years later when I finally told someone for the first time. I delayed letting that weight go for a long time because I was mourning a brother– I was mourning what losing that brother meant to my family, I was mourning the fact that I would never have a relationship with that brother that wasn’t pretend, I was mourning what it meant to be in the world and relate to the world. Either way, I was so busy mourning all that other stuff that I couldn’t, for one second, admit to myself that I also needed to mourn the abuse. At least not right away.
When people say that I’m strong or that they don’t know how I’m doing it, I feel like a fraud. So I guess it needed to be said. I guess I wanted to be honest with the world about it. It’s much more complicated than people know.