I am the youngest of 3 widely-spaced children. My brother is 12 years older than I am.
We grew up separately, for the most part. I heard stories that he took care of me when I was very young, but I have no memories. He went off to college when I started first grade. He graduated college before I finished grade school. He moved away and started a career.
Our dad died when I was 14, and he moved back to the farm, and managed our Mom's affairs. I was a busy high schooler, and we didn't interact much.
He was in the grips of clinical depression all of his life, and I was unaware of that. It was his "normal", and how I knew him.
I got married during college, and after graduation moved home to a separate house. He had moved out of the farm for his privacy at this time. And maybe to get distance from our "eccentric" mother.
We got close then, spent hours talking about ideas, moved to another state and bought land and an apartment house together. It was a good time.
One thing about my brother was that he was never without a woman in his life. Most of them were crazy, but he had several long-term relationships.
I moved back to the area we were raised in. He remained in the other state. We drifted and spoke mostly on holidays and his birthday.
Then our mother died. My brother was named Executor of the estate in the Will. He was hopeless. The only good thing was his common-law wife, Carol, who was mostly sane. She was starting to get a handle on his paperwork, and there was some hope he would get moving on the estate.
Carol died. All progress stopped.
I went out to help him a few months later.
During that time, we hired someone from a temp agency to help make sense of his office. "B" wasn't there very long before she moved into his house, and became a fixture in his life.
I convinced him to resign as Executor, and I was named Administrator. Eventually, I got the estate wrapped up.
We visited my sister together about 10 years ago, and talked on the phone some, but only rarely.
The last 3 or 4 years, we haven't talked at all. I call him and leave messages on his answering machine on Christmas and his birthday (which was yesterday).
Never an answering call.
Besides the emotional aspects of this, I also have business interests with him that need to be addressed.
I feel like he's so detached that he could die, and I wouldn't know.
I don't know if it's just him, or if "B" is adding to the isolation. And I have no way of knowing.
This is one more aspect of my life over which I have no control. This Fall or Winter, when the appeal of my divorce settlement is complete, I hope I will have the practical and emotional bandwidth to pursue this.
I miss him.