One cannot always be pure of mind and generous of heart when grieving, and today is a day of petty spite and rage against any target that happens to catch my eye. Today is a day when I don’t just miss my brother and resent others for living, but a day on which others’ responses to his death make me bitter and cynical.
My brother died a very public death. His life ended literally in front of scores of people, and also while doing very public work. By the nature of his work and talent, he also had many friends and admirers (and a few people who I am sure resented him his popularity, attendant cockiness, and occasional girlfriend-stealing). Many of these people truly loved him, and many more were inspired by him and stunned by his death. Usually, this is a blessing. It means that many people knew, almost immediately, of his death and we did not have to do the telling and re-telling. It means that many people, who I know from varying degrees of well to not at all, have reached out to me and my parents to give us their condolences and tell us what Alex meant to them. But it also means that his public persona is writ larger than his whole, that the nuance of him is lost in the publicity, and that people can shape and mold the event of my brother’s death to their own needs.
I recognize that my take on this is my view from the hole in which I currently make my home. Sometimes, I am happy that Alex’s memory will live on in everyone who experienced his death. But today, I feel like telling David Axelrod to shove his unifying event; I would rather have my brother back than an amazing Obama victory. Sorry, David; I appreciate your attendance at the funeral and shiva, but your campaign was not as important as my brother. And New York Times, come on; my brother was so much bigger than the Obama campaign.