I was happy. At the time I didn’t know it, when you grow up happy you can’t distinguish between joy and despair because you haven’t been truly unhappy. You don’t really understand why people would be cold and miserable. In my case, ignorance was bliss. Ignorance shielded me from understanding the world, which was probably good at the time, no kid should know what the world can really be like. This shielding ignorance helped me stay as a kid; joyful, unaware, and wondrous… until I experienced loss. Loss made that ignorance fade, it made it translucent, and it made me understand that the world rotates on an axis, not around me.
I was nervous. I had never seen my dad cry before, my dad had always been the strongest figure in my life, a tall, stern, but a loving father. Seeing him cry made me feel vulnerable.
“Hey buddy,” I glanced to the right, my mom wasn’t crying, but the aftermath of tears on eye shadow suggested she had been.
“Whats up.” I responded to my mom, diverting my eyes to the floor. For some reason, I felt guilty, as if I should be helping my seemingly broken parents.
“Well, Easton went to the doctor’s office today, and, well, he is pretty sick, he has something called cancer.” My mom choked up at this word.
I felt a looming darkness after she said that .I heard that word before, my uncle died of cancer. Although I didn’t really know him, his death made me sad because it made my mom sad, and if my mom was sad, I seemed to want to be sad with her… or for her. The word cancer seemed to set off some type of alarm signal inside me, I had no clue that I would think about this word everyday for the next five years, and most likely long after.
My mom left the week after with Easton, my little brother, and I didn’t really understand why. She said it was to see a “special doctor” that could make my brother better. It made no sense, we had plenty of doctors in Montana, but I nodded my head in agreement of a concept I had yet to grasp.
I was quiet. It had been three weeks since my mom left. I didn’t want to tell anyone at school about my little brother. I did not like a lot of attention, and for someone with those preferences a brother with (cancer) a sickness was something to hide away. I was a loud, brazen kid, so when I fell into thoughts I had yet to know the meaning of, my friends realized something was wrong quickly. For some reason, being quiet made me so much more noticeable.
We made trips back and forth to Seattle for the next year, each time we went my brother lost more of his hair, and my parents lost more of their hope. Easton was not getting better, he was getting rapidly worse. The doctors saw it, my parents saw it, but I didn’t, all I saw was a bald head, tears from my parents, and the dark tone that came over my parents whenever they got back from the hospital. I could have put the puzzle pieces together, but I still had a block from reality, that ever-fading ignorance that stuck with me while my brother was going through treatment.
We came back from Seattle for the last time that summer, three years of moving back and forth for school and family was over. We came home, Although home didn’t feel like it used to. A sad, melancholic gray came over our household. I felt like I didn’t have much of a home left, that’s why when we moved I didn’t care, my home was gone, changing houses didn’t matter.
The gray, cold mood got thicker, I felt happier at school and with friends. My dad was always at work, my mom was still taking care of Easton, or what was left of him. Jaiden was constantly driving to friends to get away from the solemn poison that set up camp our house. I was stuck, I stayed in my room most days, I didn’t want to see (cancer) this sickness eat away at my brother any longer.
The ignorance that blinded me so extremely a year ago was almost gone, I wish it had stayed.
A nurse eventually stopped checking in on Easton weekly, and he stopped walking, and talking, only sleeping. My brother really wasn’t my brother anymore. What was laying on that couch felt like a remnant of my brother. A sort of capsule only holding the stuff that seemed to be undaunted by time, his sickness. On August 10, 2018, Easton drew his last breath in his sleep, I was with him. Gravity seemed to shift, the weight of anger and fear that I buried in my stomach for so long flew up to my heart, and the final bit of childish ignorance fell into despondence.
I could see. I could see why people could live in misery. I could see why kids with a blinding ignorance need it, it protects them from falling into the hardships of the world. Instead, for most children, it fades over time as they are ready to accept that the world sometimes isn’t a joyful, unaware, wondrous place. The ignorance most children carry with them is a gift, allowing them to see the world in a positive light. I believe the ignorance that I carried with me during one of the most difficult times in my life saved me from a reality I couldn’t quite accept.