I always fought with the eldest of my younger brothers. We had an immature type of relationship I vowed to never entertain again: one in which our sole expression of affection was through teasing and conflict. As a 17-year-old I wasn’t yet experienced enough to know how to effectively span a fundamental difference of personality while existing in such close proximity to the dear being holding it. He had the same problem of course, but was much more irritable about it. I regret not being able to experience how we relate as adults.

He used to mock me when a date went badly and tell me how lacking I am. He’d pick mercilessly at my insecurities, but then he’d start in on the other party and somehow it’d always end up with the other guy getting the worst end of his verbal abuse. Somehow we’d end up laughing.

Somehow I think he wouldn’t have changed much from offering me that sort of therapy. I doubt wisdom would often displace our warped sense of humor, one of the few precious things we shared in common. Somehow we’d manage to twist all of our negativity and we’d end up laughing.

I miss him. I want him to mercilessly mock me when I have a migraine too, and give me the irritating comfort of knowing some things will never change regardless of my health. I want him to clumsily apologize when he makes me cry. I want him to throw a game controller at me from across the room because he doesn’t know what else to do, and then pretend to mess up and let me get the best weapon. I want to tell him off for underestimating me and then watch his relieved face after my mouthy outburst signals I’m back to normal. Somehow we’d end up laughing.

It’s been 16¬†years now, and he still makes me cry. I can’t remember his voice, but it doesn’t matter. It was still changing when he died anyway. It’s impossible for me to feel empty, because my emotions while trying to remember him reflect our relationship. After the tears and a defiant, supercilious¬†outburst, somehow I end up laughing.

At his face.

(If you struggle with a loved one’s suicide, check out Alliance of Hope.)