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Guide to Grief: How to Watch Your Brother Die

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Guide to Grief: How to Watch Your Brother Die

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  • November 2012
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Ali Rodseth
19 October 2012
Section 138

A Guide to Greif

An occurrence like death can leave unanswered questions, but create countless answers for family, friends and loved ones. Both contradicting views on sexuality and death can tear apart families and leave them in ruin. Michael Lassel writes “How to Watch Your Brother Die” as a poem to be read as a short story. Lassel digs deep into his journey as the narrator has to deal with the loss of his brother, whom he has not had contact with since clarified his sexuality. Lassel gives examples of the five stages of grief throughout the story and he constantly uses forms of the word hatred to express the transition the narrator went through to accept brother’s sexuality and death. The narrator’s barrier collapses when he gets a call that his brother has gotten terribly ill and has little time left. As Lassel describes that the narrator realizes how much he has lost, the love for his brother resurfaces and he comes to acceptance with his brother’s sexuality. When the narrator arrives he sits in the hospital room with only his brother’s lifeless body and his brother’s lover. He mentions that he will “try not to be shocked that he already looks like a cadaver.” This example represents the first stage of grief: denial. He says the narrator wanted to have no surprise to his brother’s body laying lifeless on a hospital bed, yet when the speaker arrives, he is filled with disbelief. The last time the author had seen or even talked to his brother was the day that his brother came out about his sexuality. The fact that the narrator disagreed with his brother’s view on sexuality remains the reason that they lost total contact. It seemed instant that his brother had gotten ill because they had not spoken to each other in so long, and the speaker has a difficult time coming to terms with this reality. The next stage of grief the narrator experienced is anger. When the speaker and his brother’s lover come back from...

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