“Familial Bodies,” on a brother’s suicide and a father’s scorn. Memoir by A. W. Barnes.

“Anyone who lives this way deserves to die this way,” he said, looking directly at me.

Their grief pushed and pulled between them like a lunar tide.

Image by the Guardian.

I’ve often wondered if he remembered the words he spoke in the morgue, or if his memory failed along with his body.

Anatomy of a bruise, by Webmd.com.

I wanted to see his body, touch it, maybe. I thought it might make what felt unreal more believable.

Image by pexels.com

I expected gruesome details about the way he died, the poison eating away at the lining of his stomach and burning holes in his esophagus.

I imagined my brother’s body turning to stone, as if he’d seen Medusa — as if he dared to look into the forbidden, dared to live the kind of life we were taught was anathema to all that was good and right and worthy.

I’ve found the idea that Mike had to suffer in order to die gives me some perverse pleasure. I want suicide to be painful.

Image by PhotoCase.

My body has transformed into that of my father.

Coming home is sign of failure that necessitates a feast.

We’d represent the different stages of the same man aging over time.

A place-setting placemat on Amazon.com.

I wanted to believe that my father held no animus toward me, and perhaps he didn’t…. Perhaps, I told myself, it was time to forgive him.

I felt cruel; I thought maybe my presence was torture to him, and at that moment I didn’t mind torturing him.



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