It turns out that coming home has been at least as much joyous reunion as somber remembrance. As you might expect, guilt worms it’s way into even this. How can we be happy when there’s a hole in the family? We rationalize Bob’s empty seat by supposing that he’s somewhere else and will turn up after dinner or whatever. I’m sleeping in his bedroom and I found myself looking at his books and CDs. Bizarrely, I worried that if I moved anything he might notice my snooping. All of us who flew in this week expected Bob would meet us at the airport.
Even before last week, we had commented on the unusual number of people we knew who had died in the last year. In every case, I have no problem supposing that we might meet them in heaven. But not Bob. Maybe this will change when we see the body and bury it. But I suspect that when someone was as close as a brother (even 18-years younger) will be harder to internalize as dead that people who were less a constant in our own lives.