Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

My Baby Brother's Optimism

As I write, I am sitting in Fiumincino Airport in Rome waiting for my flight back to New York, but I do not want to get on that plane. I do not want to accept the reason I am going home. You’ll excuse me if this diary sounds rather incoherent.

Yesterday morning I was awaken to news that shattered my otherwise quiet life. My little brother, with whom I tirelessly worked with on last year’s campaign in Virginia and North Carolina, with whom I celebrated last year’s election victories, and with whom I have always had a close relationship that began when, at age 5, my mother sat me on the couch and placed him, as a newborn, in my arms, collapsed and died on the front stoop of the Queens home we grew up in. My father, the only person in the family who can manage a word, tells me he died at age 25 of a severe asthma attack he suffered after running home from a friend’s house. He had always had a bad asthma problem.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t partially believe this is a joke meant to get me to move back home and when I get off the plane in New York, my brother will be standing here laughing. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know that wasn’t going to happen, but thinking it is what is keeping me from falling hysterical in the middle of this airport.

What does this tragedy have to do with politics? Not much, except my brother was one of those who felt the world changing beneath his feet after last November, and no matter who difficult it looked or how much it seemed the change wasn’t happening fast enough, he was always excited about the possibility.

My brother blogged only but once, on DailyKos last summer, before they ran him off for some reason. He was banned from there and threw in the towel on blogging from then on.

“I don’t know need a blog to tell me what’s going on.” He said to me once, “I can just talk to people.”

These last few hours, trying to cope with the reality that my brother will not live to see the successes he was so excited to see, I am reminded of what’s really important in life.

Not battling for hours with people who feel they know more than the people they elected on long comment threads that go nowhere. Not trying to fight off trolls and dead enders, bitter PUMAs and bruhs.

From Italy, I watch this healthcare debate and I laugh. “Obama must do this, Obama must do that. Obama must come up with a plan. Obama must demand the public option!”

Because Obama can push Congress to do whatever he wants? The same Congress to told them to go f*ck himself on Gitmo and cramdown?

I don’t personally have the faith my brother did in the future of my country. I don’t think Obama will get reelected, I think the liberals will either force a ideological purity on the Democratic Party that will render it a minority, or the party will splinter badly. I don’t think the Democratic Party can effectively govern the country, there is too much division in it.

When I suggested this to my brother, he’d laugh at me. Tell me to get my head out of the blogs, take a walk, talk to people. He had an incredible optimism. Must be what the haters and cynicals referred to as “drinking the kool-aid”

I’m not sure if you’ll see me around too much anymore. It’s just not worth the heartache. Things will fall how they will fall. They will happene as fate intended.

Friday, I will bury my little brother, then I will move on with my life…knowing that my baby brother died with an unyielding optimism that made him happy until his last moments.  


  1. Jjc2008

    I have been where you have been….getting a shocking phone call, hearing that your sibling has suddenly died.  I had just talked to my sister less than 48 hours before her aorta burst from  an aneurysm.  Granted she was older, as am I, but I have learned.  Loss hurts no matter what the age, the reason…whatever.

    Like you I remember sitting alone in an airport, still in shock, at times unable to control the flow of tears, unable to get the feeling of a knife thru my heart to go away.

    For me it has now been six years.  Life has moved forward but never the same.  Siblings are you.  You are them.  A piece of who you are, what you know, your history, your future with them, stolen.

    You will get through it.  You will go forward.  I will keep you in my thoughts, and hope that for you like me, time passing will help you to heal.

  2. and in English, these words just don’t seem to be enough.

    This has been a damn hard summer for families. Way too many folks dealing with illness and worse, and while I’m not quite angry at the Universe for taking so many good people, in my corner, I do kind of wish that it’d let up a bit so folks can catch their breath.

    Remembering him, and holding onto those memories, they let him live on, and bring you to the places he was hoping you’d go. That is as fine a tribute as any. Good on you.

  3. I too have experience loss and know that there are no magic words that can bring comfort. About all that helps is knowing you are not alone. All I can offer is what others have said. Honor his memory and hold him close in your heart and he will always be with you.

  4. louisprandtl

    I just hope that you and your family are doing ok. Do keep writing here, we would definitely like to know how you’re …

  5. Kysen

    I know the pain of losing a brother. Hold your family and loved ones close. Lean on each other. It is in loving and caring for each other that his memory will best be preserved.

    A candle will be lit from our family to yours.  

  6. but I think your brother would want you to keep one from him.  Do honor his optimism, it sounds like it was his gift to you.

    The loss you just suffered puts all of our complaints in pale comparison.  Perhaps it really is not worth wasting the time we have – while we are here and we have those we love around us – with too wry a view of the world.

    I value you, and while I hope to hear from you in the future I will think about you either way and hope your brother’s optimism survives in you.

    Be good my brother.  If there is anything I can do, you only have to ask.

  7. Steve M

    Not the natural order of things at all.  You have my sympathy and, I’m positive, the full support of the Moose community in all its goofy camaraderie.  

    A great man once said, “I may not get there with you.”  It’s obvious your brother’s spirit is going to live on, and it sounds like whenever your pessimism proves unfounded you’re going to be hearing a great big “told ya so!”  Sometimes we have to live other people’s dreams for them.

    Have a safe trip home and don’t be a stranger around here, friends are important in times like these.

  8. NavyBlueWife

    Your brother sounds like a wonderful man…I deeply admire those with unyielding optimism…

    The pain of loss…I don’t have anything to offer there because it is something that overwhelms me still…

    My heart aches for you…

  9. anna shane

    I’m so sorry you lost such a sweet man.  That he stayed sweet until the end is no solace, that should have made him live forever.  But that he lived the way he wished to, perhaps that’s some?  There are some people that make the world better just by being in it.  When one one of them leaves, it’s a loss for everyone.  

  10. Hollede

    I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through. There simply are no words that can adequately convey my sympathies. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  11. i don’t know what to say but for my heart aches for you.

    “There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth

    though they have long been extinct.

    There are people whose brilliance continues to light

    the world even though they are not longer among the living.

    These lights are particularly bright

    when the night is dark.

    They light the way for human kind.”

                                                                      – Hannah Senesh

    y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya.

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