I had really engrossing and deep conversations with each of my brothers in the last two days. I don’t speak with them often, though I feel indeed very close to them. We have a deep trust and understanding and love that we don’t tend to with chitchat.
That’s not how we do things as Morrisons.
Do you feel what I just felt, when you type your last name? Do you feel the echo of all the people that name embraces and defines? Do you find yourself suddenly running through a shuffling deck of memories? I do, in the best way. I’m so glad I never changed my name: I have never been, and never will be, anything but a Morrison.
Which means the following: stubborn, arrogant in varying degrees, intelligent, and cursed with intelligence, possessing a low threshold for bullshit, clever, outgoing, a cutting sense of humor, generous in spirit, and connected to worldly pain in ways deep and private (though, ahem, perhaps less private in my case).
My two brothers imagine themselves at opposite ends of wide spectrum, and in some ways that’s true, I suppose. But to me they will always be more linear, like bookends: they are my older and my younger, both big and solid and true. I love being the sandwich cream between them, the blonde to their brunette, the girl to their boy, the January to their Julys. (We are born, in descending order, on the 27th, 17th and 7th of the month—me in winter, them in summer.)
I appreciate them so deeply, yes for what we share, but especially for being unlike me. I have learned so much from them through our differences, and they both lead me to very interesting places. I love our conversations, cherish them.
I talked about the dream I had with both my brothers, which led, of course, to revisiting those terrible months when our parents were dying. I get angry now when I think about how truly terribly they died—sudden, confused, all wrong, everything upside down. No clarity, no real goodbyes, no thank yous or I love yous. Nothing but a terrifying mess. It leaves a scar behind, that kind of tumultuous passing, and all three of us carry it. Thank goodness we carry it together.
Discussing our parents leads to me talking about my book, which leads to mixed feelings from my brothers, which I fully respect and don’t fully understand, but listening to how we experienced our childhoods and our parents differently is always a bracing tonic. But there are some samenesses, too.
My little brother (who is in no way little, but I guess that’s why I still call him that : ) said something in our conversation that I immediately wrote down as he said it, because it struck me as clarion:
“I would rather live my life feeling pain than feeling loneliness. Because pain I know.”
When he said it I felt such a deep, wide YES in my soul that I was just dumbstruck. (For the record, he is speaking of himself historically. Yay, him!) I have always said I had a pain divining rod, that the way I walk into a room is to step in and close my eyes and just feel, until I can find the people who are in their struggle, because it is those people with whom I feel the most safe. I don’t want to be with the confident crowd. I don’t want to be with the willful deniers. I want to be with the questioners and the confused, the half-crazed and the weeping, with the people who are filled with uncertainty and looking for answers and yet still carry with them an openness that says, “Please, yes, let’s meet, right there, where it hurts.”
Pain I know. Pain, I do know. It’s seductive and comforting, and it lures you into choosing to hold onto it, even when its cables are cutting rough and bloody channels in your tender palms.
And this strange and wondrous floating I’ve been doing for the past few days, I realize, is floating free of pain, and just being—not solving, not fighting, not welcoming. Breathe in, breathe out. And all of a sudden, peace is right there, in front of me.