Years ago someone asked me, What makes you, you? I responded quickly without much thought, citing some of the pivotal moments of my early life.
This question still haunts me.
Each time I reflect on it, a different response emerges often beginning with those critical experiences, but then veering off into a meditation on life and existence and who I am at my core.
Because this question has no one answer it needs its own series – Pivotal Moments.
I hope these reflections will both entertain and inspire your own contemplation into what makes you, you.
It’s impossible to give consideration to what makes me, me without acknowledging the experience that I (now) know made the biggest impact on who I am thus far; my brother’s death.
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, four of us in a one bedroom apartment. My brother Charlie and I shared a room that was separated by a huge grayish-blue wardrobe that (I believe) my father built. My parents divorced when I was five; my mother got the sofa bed to herself.
It wasn’t long after my parent’s divorce that Charlie developed headaches and double vision. He was a surly kid, but who can blame him living with constant discomfort and not knowing why. In the mid 70’s medical advances were limited especially in consideration to modern times, so identifying the cause of Charlie’s illness did not come easy. Someone told me that Charlie was the first person in Brooklyn to receive a CAT scan.
I recently found out that the cancer Charlie suffered from was Astrocytoma. All I knew was that by the time he died in 1980, Charlie had several tumors throughout his head and spine.
I was ten when Charlie passed away and my family was shattered.
I remember being about 12 years old and thinking that no matter what I did in life, I had to support myself (financially) because I couldn’t rely on anyone else. Was that notion a result of divorce or death? Not sure, but either way both my independence and the foundation for my inner fortress was established at an early age.
Within the last year or two I did some research into childhood bereavement of a sibling. There doesn’t seem to be much information available on the subject, but according to what I did learn, nearly every forthcoming chapter of Pivotal Moments can be traced back to this loss – the impact is that significant.
Therefore – top honors in what makes me, me goes to the loss of my brother. The trophy – the first brick in the wall around my heart.
What makes you, you?
A Special Person We were close me & him After this story you'll agree it was a sin I was with him everywhere I went Every moment with him I spent My friendship had been broken with this special guy When this happened I did nothing but cry This is not a story of a boyfriend of I But of my brother that died By K.G. February 5, 1983
Pivotal Moments is a collection of experiences that contribute to who I am. Have you considered what makes you, you?