It's been a rough week. On Tuesday, I received a call from my sister that my elder brother, Mike, had been found dead in his apartment. He likely was there for days before being noticed.
Mike had been battling alcoholism for years. Due to it, he lost his job, his home, and nearly all his friends and family. Periodically, he'd surface, needing to shower or clean his clothing, and my sister or brother would take pity on him and let him in long enough to clear up.
I was spared much of this; by the time he hit the streets, I was living in SC. I was only occasionally present when he surfaced. In 10 years, I doubt I saw him more than 10 times.
He couldn't get along with others at the shelters. He claimed that they "messed with" him, but I suspect that he irritated them quite a bit - he was smart, and could use his intellect to put people down. His smart mouth, even in his youth, got him in a bit of trouble.
When he was in his 20s, he started a science fiction novel. To my knowledge, he never finished more than a few chapters. Could he have, if he had not been drinking? Possibly. My sister finished her book; I'm still trying to find time to get back to mine. In the meantime, I post to my blogs; I've run one for almost a decade. Writing is apparently in the family genes.
Mike never married. He was skittish about arguments; he was uneasy about children. Illness scared him. When my children were hospitalized, he would, briefly, show up, then, abruptly, have to leave. His squeamishness about many of life's trials seemed to be avoidance of pain.