It’s a very odd feeling, staring into the eyes of the man responsible for killing your brother. It’s odd hearing him talk when my brother no longer can, but there I was, sitting across from an 86 year old man at Arbys, listening to him tell me about the accident.
I’d invited Donald out to lunch after much of the legal mess had settled in the wake of Phil’s death. I had a yearning to meet him. I didn’t want to berate him or yell at him. I just wanted some peace by meeting him. Some morsel of closure.
You see, Donald never reached out to me or my family after Phil died. He didn’t send a card or show up in person to apologize. He never gave the police any regards to send or called on the phone. Nothing. It was my longing to see if he’d gone through any pain that urged me to call him. I wanted to know if he felt remorse. Had he cried? Did he lose sleep?
He was already at a table when I showed up. He stood up to greet me and I gave him a big hug. I told him I loved him and appreciated his meeting me for lunch.
He told me how very sorry he was. How it was his fault. He asked me if Phil had any kids. He cried.
I told him about how funny Phil was. That he was my very best friend and was deeply loyal. I told him about Phil’s high intelligence and how much he truly loved serving people. I told him how happy I was that his death was instant. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry.
At the end of our lunch I thanked him again for meeting with me. He thanked me profusely for calling and inviting him out. We hugged and said goodbye and then I left.
I sat in my car in silence for about 30 minutes trying to digest what had just transpired. I felt no different. I didn’t feel any release or closure. All I felt was emptiness at what had just took place. I’m still glad I took the initiative to meet him, but I’m not really sure why.
I guess that Donald was probably the last person Phil ever saw and I felt I owed it to my brother to see him with my own eyes. To be someone to tell Donald how this earth is less of a place without Phil in it.
I guess I just miss my brother.