A confession, and an apology

by Bernard Brandt

Those of the five or six readers of my weblog will perhaps have noted that I have talked somewhat about the grief that I have had for my late wife, Elizabeth, who died back in August of 2016 of bone cancer. Some fewer of those readers will also perhaps have noted that I am also in grief for my first wife, Carolyn, who will have the twenty-third anniversary of her death from lung cancer in early May.

And, unfortunately, there are many more, readers of this weblog and of my page on Facebook, as I have gone up and down in that latter hyperspace, and to and fro in it, seeking what mischief I may, who have experienced my poisonous tongue and pen. One of them, a particularly dear friend, has repeatedly asked me, “Why are you doing this, Bernie?  You’re better than that.”

Unfortunately, I could not tell her why I was doing these evil things, because I did not know the answer myself. Until now. Please let me tell you what I have found.
Those very few who know me personally know also that I like to drink rather more than is good for me. And I have been using drink as a drug of choice in my self medication when the pain of loss of my wives gets too much. Those who know the effects of alcohol on the human brain know that it affects reaction time first, then inhibits the function of the frontal lobes, and then proceeds to reach back to affect the temporal, parietal, and finally the occipital lobes. I believe that that last state of drunkenness is what experts in the field call being ‘blind drunk’.

In my case, after a number of drinks, whatever functions of judgment or of conscience depart from me. But unfortunately, my ability to reason and to write coherent declaratory sentences does not, nor my ability to write some really scathing and nasty stuff in the process.

Most of the time, I am a jovial drunk. Which means that when I get into that state, most of the time I generally go to sleep. But since the death of my wife Beth, I have been sleeping either rather less than my wont, or far more than it. Sometimes, I am foolish enough to log on to Facebook while in that state.

And here is the odd and terrible thing. When I have seen or heard people talking or writing rot or nonsense of a particularly rank sort, I have feelings of envy, of rage, and in fact, of hatred. Since my wife Beth’s death, I have, for the first time in my experience, felt the passion of Envy: why should these silly ones be able to run around and spout rot and nonsense, when my wife, with whom I had the closest of concords, is no longer here with me?

And this Envy has impelled me to wish to hurt, to wound, and even to kill, those who speak what I consider to be folly. I quite literally wanted to beat the living, er, stuffings out of those who speak or write foolishly, in my opinion. I am not proud of this discovery. I am rather quite ashamed of it.

But now that I have finally figured out why it is that I have done as I have done, I would like to offer my apologies for my behavior, to ask the forgiveness of those whom I have injured by my rage or by my malice, and to resolve not to do such things again.

I particularly ask the forgiveness of Fr. Dwight Longenecker, whom I have maligned in a particularly nasty manner just recently. I have asked that forgiveness on his FB page, and that good priest has been a true icon of Christ by granting me that forgiveness. I had promised him, however, that I would do so publicly, on my weblog and on Facebook. I am keeping that promise now.

And I also ask the forgiveness of the many here and elsewhere that I have injured by my malicious words. I am truly sorry for them. Please forgive me.