Here are the three things I know for sure about my late brother-in-law Joseph David Kepler:
In twenty years I think I saw him sober three times. He was a terrible poet. And that overdose was no accident, and neither were any of the others.
The brutal truth is that the world is better off without him. He left nothing. His parents died deeply ashamed of him, and none of his siblings had seen or spoken with him in years.
Except of course his oldest sister. My wife. Who is inconsolable.
I’m a good man. Husband and father. I look in the mirror every morning and I look at my face, and I say, “That is the face of a man who has done all that he could do, who has built and maintained something, a family structure, a world within the world.”
What did Joseph David Kepler build? What sweat did he trade to gain my wife’s tears? She won’t leave her bed. All he ever did was drink and write poetry and borrow money. Doesn’t she see?
And the fucking dog has cancer. The kids are sad.
My house sails now on a sea of grief.