Older Than My Older Brother

12 Oct

“I wanted you to know,

That I love the way you laugh,

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away,

I keep your photograph,

And I know it serves me well,

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain,

‘Cause I’m broken, when I’m lonesome,

And I don’t feel right, when you’re gone away,

You’ve gone away; you don’t feel me here anymore”

Broken”, Seether (Feat. Amy Lee)

___________________________________________________________________________________

As of today, I have lived one day longer than my older brother, who was born four years before I was. There aren’t really adequate words to describe how that makes me feel, especially since it was his choice for it to have turned out this way, but in this post, I will try.

Simply put, it is a strange, horrible, confusing and mystifying feeling that I am technically “older than my older brother.”  As for my parents, I really don’t want to even imagine how they must feel.  They tell me that without Brett and me, their prospects for going forward would have been a lot different.  Regardless, they’ve been brave and strong ever since, and they are truly special people because of that.

 I find myself often thinking about the course of events that have occurred throughout my life, and the people who have come and gone along the ride. I enjoy doing this, in fact, and I’m a big believer in the classic saying “everything happens for a reason”. However this is obviously the one instance where that is not true; Jeff leaving us could not have happened for any valid reason. The only real positive counter to this statement would be that the Kleinsaucer blog was formed, and especially as of late, more and more people are reading about the epidemic of suicide, and feeling more comfortable expressing themselves, thereby preventing themselves from doing such a horrible thing.

It goes without saying that I took Jeff’s death very hard; I had felt closer to him than ever during the fall of 2010, but I was simply unaware of any difficulties that he was going through. I had just transitioned to a new school, and while it wasn’t heaven, it was better than my previous school, so I was at least happy with that. Jeff, of course, kept in regular contact with me, asking about how I was doing and whether I was enjoying myself. And I was ecstatic telling him that it was possible I might perform at the halftime show at a Philadelphia 76ers game as part of a new dance class I was taking! Even just four days before he left us, we were also talking about our beloved Knicks, and what their season held in store. There was literally no sign of trouble in any of our text conversations.  Jeff’s texts are in gray, and mine are in yellow.

jeff drew text 2

Jeff drew text 3

Jeff drew text 4

jeff drew text 5

Drew nice profile picture

jeff drew text 6

jeff drew text 7

Jeff Drew Text 1

We kept in contact frequently until the end, and I’m glad, but I feel that we could have been even closer. We were both relatively restrained when it came to conversing with each other. Suffice to say, I have had funnier/more outrageous/exciting text conversations with other people. And I still am kicking myself every day over the fact that once upon a time I used to lock the door of my room during high school. I always used to hear him try and come in, not be able to, and walk away… Just unacceptable on my part.

It’s funny when I think about it, because I feel that action of locking my door is something indicative of how our generation lives today. In other words, we focus more on ourselves, interact more with our various devices, and communicate less effectively with other people. I consider what happened a completely lost opportunity to cement our relationship. He was right across the hall, and we should have spent hours together.

While it’s not acceptable that Jeff left us, I feel it’s quite ironic that he would absolutely hate the way the world operates today. For example, we may care about how many likes we get on a social media post more than we care about brightening the days of other people. In sports, people take shortcuts to achieve their goals faster (“Our team isn’t good enough to contend? Let’s buy better players to make us contenders!”). I’m looking at you, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Cavaliers. Jeff wasn’t a Lebron fan to begin with, and he would have despised his return to Cleveland. He would have seen through Lebron’s declaration that he wanted to come home again and would have blogged that his return was really rooted in selfish interest merely to surround himself with a better supporting cast than the one he spent four years with and spontaneously ran away from.

If been here to watch the NBA playoffs with me last spring, we would have been laughing over the disparities in attendance from arena to arena; the Staples Center packed with fans who marvel over the incredible ball movement of the LA Clippers, while fans in the Verizon Center attending the Wizards’ games apparently being more concerned with the quality and quantity of their drinks than actually watching the game. But I digress, and I don’t want to make it seem like I wrote this post to take shots at others… because I didn’t, and I don’t want to come across as someone that I’m not. I actually feel that I’m starting to view these types of things in a similar way that Jeff would have; it’s cool and interesting, but nothing could ever compare to spending time with him right next to me.

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Anyway, it meant the world having Jeff as an older brother for the time that I did. Having him to look up to for anything always made me feel so secure. I will always be able to take away from watching him the diligence that he approached every aspect of life with, whether it was pursuing his studies (and his very brief amount of time as a paralegal), his work ethic towards sports, and his ability to maintain relationships, to name a few. I want to approach my life the same way he did, and also be a top-notch role model for Brett. I can’t imagine the effect this has had on him. I want to fill the void and be the best older brother I can be for him, while also approaching the rest of my life with an unparalleled sense of fearlessness and resilience. I know I’ll get hit here and there, but nothing can ever take me down.

As for myself, my brother, and my parents, we will always have each other for support and to lean on for the rest of our lives, and that is obviously quite certain.  Because of what has happened, I actually can’t picture a tighter bond possible between family members.

I am now older than my older brother was, and I am going to live out my life to its natural conclusion. Had Jeff never left us, he and I would have taken on life’s challenges, and had quite an amazing time doing so. All the more reason I just wish I could have held him high, and stolen his pain away.

–Drew Klein

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3 Responses to “Older Than My Older Brother”

  1. Francesca Hagadus October 13, 2014 at 12:23 am #

    Bravo Drew!

  2. Jean October 13, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    Wow….You are an amazing brother. You continue to make your parents so very proud.

    • Meyi Sobon October 25, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

      Please tell me how can I stop crying after reading all of your post….where was i when this happened? I’m so so sorry for your lost…

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