James Giago Davies. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

James Giago Davies: Maybe the terrible things that happened never happened

Reconciling the tragic past
Would we appreciate it, had it never happened?
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Columnist

East of Belle Fourche there is a treeless ridgeline covered by buffalo grass and sagebrush clumps, and despite having driven past it a thousand times over the decades, I never noticed a large area of jutting rock at its center.

There is a theory, down at the subatomic level, particles and waves make every possible choice, thereby creating an infinite number of parallel realities, almost identical to this one, except for maybe the existence of something like that rock outcropping, and were you to be swapped with a parallel version of yourself, and wound up in his nearly identical reality, and he in yours, would either of you be able to notice the switch?

Maybe some of the terrible things that happened, the people you loved and lost, maybe just one of those never ending hurts isn’t true in his universe. Forty years ago last spring, I lost my little brother Lloyd to a fishing accident. He was fifteen, four years younger than me, and one after noon there was a knock at the door, and there stood a sheriff’s deputy and a clergyman. That easily was the longest day of my life.

Reconciling his death was a constant wound that never healed in my mother, and has never healed in me. As a journalist, I am forced to interact with people, and so even though I am reclusive by nature, I know more people than most people have to know, but I am still a lonely person, and when I think of that loneliness, I always think of him.

My little brother was gifted and smart, a singular bright spot in a myopic world of mediocrity and blight. But I never acknowledged or appreciated that while he was alive. I wasn’t the person I am now, I was filled with anger and self-absorption that left little room for kind, gentle moments.

My parents never told us they loved us, and I never told my little brother I loved him. But we laughed at the same things, shared the same dreams, and we shared something even more important—a sense of principle, of decency, of honesty, no assault from the poverty we lived in, or the hardship and injustice we faced, could compromise.


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James Giago Davies is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He can be reached at skindiesel@msn.com

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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