May 24, 2015

Six Months

It's been six months since we lost my brother and I'm still having a hard time coming to terms with the sad fact that he is not here. Six months and there's a sense of disbelief that won't leave me. Six months and I still pick up the phone to call him. Six months and I still have to stop myself from starting emails to him. Six months and I still forget, momentarily, that I can't forward that funny video or article to him. Six months and I wake up each morning having to remind myself that I'm no longer the eldest, but the elder. That a huge, irreplaceable part of my life is gone.

Last week, we celebrated my sister's marriage to a warm and wonderful man who made a beautiful speech at Amir's funeral in spite of never having had the privilege of meeting him. Yael and Thiago's party was a lovefest for all, in a room bursting at the seams with warmth and joy. My mom admitted a few days before that she felt overwhelmed about a weekend of celebrating when we are all grieving and missing my brother. I admit I felt the same way. How could we be joyous when his absence was so palpable? How could we eat, drink and dance when our sorrow is so profound?

But we did. I reminded my mom the day before the party that Amir would be fucking peeved at all of us if he knew we spent any precious time being too sad over his loss to enjoy ourselves, particularly my sister, who waited so long to find her perfect partner and deserved this party so absolutely. Amir would want us to have the best fucking time and to celebrate the joy of the occasion unreservedly.

I thought of him all night long, as I'm sure many people did. Every photo snapped should have had him in it. Every toast--he should have been there raising his glass along with the rest of us. Every song--he should have been there dancing (though, frankly, he likely would have skipped the dancing in favor of hanging out in the parking lot, smoking pot and shooting the shit with cousins and old friends).

I fucking hate that he wasn't there. I'm so angry that he missed out.

Amir would have been fast friends with our new brother-in-law, with their shared intellect and curiosity. Their new bond would have made the occasion all the more glorious. But it was not to be, shitty as that is.

I am immensely proud of my sister and my parents for enjoying the fucking hell out of that party in spite of Amir's glaring absence and the gaping holes in all of our hearts. I don't believe in heaven or spirits but I was comforted knowing Amir would have been beaming with joy for our sister, the beautiful love she has found and the wonderful blended family she and Thiago have created.

May 2, 2015

Axl Rose's Orthodontist

I've spent my Saturday morning reading through old emails and chats with Amir, feeling a strong need to connect with him. Grief is a more complicated thing than I'd ever imagined. And yet... you strip away all the complex emotions and ups and downs and "what ifs" and you're left with "I fucking miss him."

Reading this Gmail chat from last year made me smile. I can "hear" Amir in these chats and emails (and cherished piles of handwritten letters) that I will forever cling to as a way of keeping Amir's exceptional wit, humor and intelligence alive and preserving our unique interplay. In this one, I believe we started off talking about David Bowie and Mick Jagger's semi-ridiculous cover of "Dancing in the Streets." (P.S. I never did get my $20 money order.)

Fwd: Hangout with Amir (Jun 23, 2014 - 4:21 PM):

Amir - 4:21 PM
Yeah, that video was a low point for both icons. Then again, very few Rock stars from the seventies made a smooth transition into the eighties.

Ayelet Prizant - 4:22 PM
C'mon, David Lee Roth transitioned perfectly to the 80s!
And what about the Steves? (Perry and Tyler)

Amir - 4:27 PM
You are mistaken. First of all, Van Halen and Journey were both more eighties than seventies. So yes, their lead singers were younger and more hip in the MTV age. And though Aerosmith are clearly a seventies band in origin, Tyler was a raging coke addict in the early eighties and looked like shit. Aerosmith went dark between 1979-1986, they were a fucking mess. Tyler cleaned up and they busted out "Permanent Vacation."

Ayelet Prizant - 4:30 PM
Yes, Tyler came back in late 80s and made gazillions w/ new fans and videos. I"m sure I can come up with someone else. Elton John? Big glasses in 70s, different big glasses in 80s = $$$$$!

Amir - 4:32 PM
Yep. Also: Billy Joel (until he grew that shitty goatee and crashed into a tree), Mark Knopfler, Neil Young, ZZ Top (shittier beards that hid the fact that they were 50 yrs old) and actually, Bowie from '80 - '84 was very much at the forefront of all trends.
"Serious Moonlight" Bowie. Not "Blue Jean" Bowie.

Ayelet Prizant - 4:33 PM
Don Henley! Pansy-ass lite rock in 70s, similar in 80s, with artsy black and white videos to sell gazillions more.

Amir - 4:34 PM
A Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.

Ayelet Prizant - 4:34 PM
Hey, I learned the word "deadhead" from that song.
Sad but true.

Amir - 4:34 PM
Everyone born after 1960 did.
Then Henley did that one with Axl Rose. Twenty bucks if you name that tune without Wikipedia.

Ayelet Prizant - 4:35 PM
I Will Not Go Quietly

Amir - 4:35 PM
Holy shit.

Ayelet Prizant - 4:36 PM
Boy am I a sad specimen of what the human brain is capable of.

Amir - 4:36 PM
I'll send you a money order.
I was gonna say I Will Not Lie Down
A strange pairing.

Ayelet Prizant - 4:37 PM
I remember really liking that song.
Recently downloaded "Sunset Grill," too--always liked that one.
But Jason and I were listening to oldies radio at home yesterday and we both groaned loudly from different rooms when "Hotel California" came on.

Amir - 4:43 PM
Is "Sunset Grill" the name of a good steak house in Hollywood?
What is that song about?
And yeah, it's very difficult to hear Hotel California with fresh ears. It's just too ubiquitous.

Ayelet Prizant - 4:44 PM
Probably a titty bar
Or gay bar

Amir - 4:44 PM
Or an orthodontist.
Axl Rose's orthodontist.