In all the reaches of space and time, I have had three brothers. I've only met two, and I only knew one well, and now they are all gone from this sorrowful world.
My dad was married several times, and his first three children were boys. The first I never met, and, frankly, I'm not sure my father ever met him either. But though he didn't interfere in his ex-wife's arrangements for their child's life, he was glad to be able to contact his ex-brother-in-law from time to time to hear how the boy was coming along.
It was a guaranteed pick-me-up, and after his second wife went mad, and he lost almost everything trying to help her out, he was probably very glad to have it.
Until the last time he called, and found out that in the last year or so his firstborn son had been called up in the draft. And shipped to Vietnam. And was killed.
Heck, I don't actually know if my brother was drafted--maybe he volunteered. My dad was in service in WWII, his mother married at least two servicemen and possibly more! It's not a crazy idea that his first born decided to join up as well.
And maybe he joined up before the conflict was really entered, or understood.
For years I thought that my dad found this out while my mother was pregnant with me, but as I have been thinking about things I wish I knew more about, I am asking about things I wish I knew more about.
Like my older brother's name.
It might have once been Patrick Grove, but it wasn't at the time of his death, or he was not in Vietnam, or he was overlooked in many of the war memorials commemorating that service history.
Which doesn't surprise me, as it was pretty common for people who wanted to avoid comment to arbitrarily change their child's name to match the man of the house. And at that time, plenty of people wanted to avoid comment! Maybe it's still common, or maybe we just stigmatize divorce less. I don't know.
I also found out that maybe my father found out about the death of his oldest, estranged son at least 4 years before I thought he did.
Frankly, I have been trying to figure out why he left my mother while she was pregnant with me my whole life. There is obviously no good answer. And I'm not complaining. BUT, while it may have all worked out for the best, I don't enjoy wondering about might have beens.
Like what cool nieces and nephews my half-brother Patrick might have made for me if he hadn't died before he was twenty. And if you look up Patrick Grove on the internet yourself, you can see what I mean by cool!
Not that you'll find what I was looking for, and can't find without searching more than just the internet. A feeling of family for my brother who died before I was born. Like knowing his name, and where and how he lived. And if he had any other half-brothers and sisters of his own, or if he was an only child.
Technically, I could have named this blog post 'restless' and covered the exact same material, but I am SO tired of this restless got to do more and know more and can't quite sleep right feeling, that I wanted to leave that part out. Maybe next time.