July 5 marked the two-year anniversary of my brother’s death. Two years I’ve spent without my best friend by my side watching TV and eating fast food. It’s awful, but I’ll always think of it as the turning point in my life and the tragedy that made me who I am today.
I’m fine nowadays. Fine enough, at least.
I have a steady job with a good salary, a nice apartment, great friends, and a wonderful girlfriend. Except for the massive brother-shaped elephant in the room that arises every single time I’m asked about my siblings, my pain doesn’t usually show itself in social situations.
However, it seems I’ve lost almost every bit of empathy for other people’s problems. So, there’s that. I think of it like this: my arm got chopped off and everyone around me is bummed about a paper cut on their fingers. I sympathize, but I don’t care.
Take, for example, a close friend who recently broke up with his girlfriend. He and I have spent hours together talking about his pain. His broken heart, his hurt feelings, his desire for comfort. I understood and I told him everything would be OK – I wanted to care, but I couldn’t. Life after the death of a loved one is a life that’s permanently tainted. I try not to be pessimistic about it; in fact, I still find joys in many activities. I love the beach, I love my friends, I love my girlfriend, but my view on the world has zoomed out.
I used to live in a world where I found myself pruning the leaves of a broken branch, and now all around me is a lush forest of noise. I cannot – will not – get wrapped up in small problems anymore. It’s unfair, too. There are people out there whose pain is worse than mine. Pain I’ll never understand and pain they’ll never understand. They think the worst thing on earth is to be dumped and I know that it simply isn’t. I’m selfish with my pain and I’m aware of it – in fact, I’m trying my hardest to not come off as an unfeeling robot; I know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and people lose sight of this.
When I tell people that things will get better, I really mean it. I wish it didn’t take a horrific death to put things in perspective, but I consider it a blessing deep, deep undercover. It allowed me to let the little things go. I remember my life before and after. I used to obsess. I used to yell and scream and cry at tiny, little situations like girls and work and friends. Then, after July 5, I learned what real problems consisted of.
I do care about your problems, but I’m begging you all to put it in perspective and let the small things be small. Worse things can happen and they will happen – and you’ll be so full of remorse when you realize you’ve wasted your time fretting over small things instead of paying attention to the bigger themes in life.
My pain isn’t more important than your pain, it’s just more concentrated.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jeremy Glass
Published Dec. 3, 2015
Aside from the adventurous night where I'd concede to defeat over starvation and muster up the courage to throw a couple chicken strips in the oven, I had never legitimately made any sort of meal for myself ... ever. Until recently.
Published Sept. 3, 2014
For many years, I would drink whatever vodka was in front of me cut, of course, with the finest sugary fruit juice. I didn't ever really get excited about vodka. But the moment Aylesbury Duck Vodka graced my lips two years ago, I knew my cheap booze swilling days were over, and for the first time in my life, I became excited about vodka.
Published Aug. 6, 2014
David Weiner spent a lot of time in software. It wasn't until recently that he launched Priority Bicycles -- a cheap, lightweight, and incredibly sexy line of bikes that have blown up all over the Internet. We talked to David about his inspiration behind Priority and, most importantly, why he left a lucrative career to start a bike company.
Published July 23, 2014
These days, absinthe has become synonymous with forgotten nights in Paris and foxy green fairies. With my knowledge of the infamous green drink limited to pop culture myths and Moulin Rouge, I decided it was time to finally sample absinthe correctly. So, when I received the Absinthe Set in the mail, I was determined to find out if the spirit matched the hype. With three 50ml bottles of absinthe at my disposal, I took the deep dive into the big green and drank absinthe the way it was intended to be drunk.
Published July 22, 2014
Retronaut is the time capsule of the Internet that shows us what life was like before we were born. Starting from the early 15th century and spanning over 400 years of history, Retronaut showcases photographs of some the strangest aspects of yesteryear. By far, one of the most peculiar set of photos is a collection of men's swinger ads from the '60s. Each one of these guys looks like they belong on a sex offender mega-list.
Published July 16, 2014
For the past few weeks, Match.com has been getting loads of weird press over a new service that's offering to set you up with another person who resembles your ex-significant other. The $5,000 service has been marketed as the "supremely weird" way for someone to hold onto their past and essentially find a clone of the one who got away. So far, the "date a resemblance of your ex" angle has resulted in disastrous PR for the bespoke dating company,Three Day Rule, who partnered with Match to provide the service.
Published July 13, 2014
I spent a week on Yo, yo-ing to all the friends of mine who'd downloaded the app. Both of them. Here's how to use it: download, choose a user name, sign in, enter your phone number, wait for Yo to message you a code (no, the message isn't "Yo," much to my dismay), enter the code, find your friends, add your friends, and send them yo. Got all that? Cool.
Published July 12, 2014
Perhaps it's a bit trite to fall back on the argument of "you weren't the first to..." when it comes to hipsters, but -- like every mind-shattering fact on the Internet -- a Wikipedia page has given us the true origin of the hipster. And, guess what, they were cool 40 years before you were even born. So remove your Animal Collective vinyl and take off your wayfarers, because you're about to get a history lesson about the O.G. 1940s hipster.
Published July 8, 2014
Kink master Aiden Starr, talks about her start as a dominatrix and the complicated world of financial slavery. "There doesn't have to be an 'or' for financial domination" says the 34-year-old sex worker. "That is one of the separating factors. You just demand that they give you money."