There’s not much to say at this point about the last several days as I investigate more of the back story surrounding the death of my brother, Peter T. McGuire. I’m not ready to write a tribute yet and won’t know when I shall be ready “until I know.” I’m in a kind of phantom zone where actions are futile and words shall forever not be enough. I’m doing my best, having found acceptance to be a kind ally to obstinacy.
I should, finally, explain the name. Why is Pete not “Valenti?” He was meant to be “Peter T. Valenti.” Pete joined the Valenti household before I was born, a date history records as having occurred late in 1951 My parents rescued Peter from an abusive home as a foster child, fell in love with him as he did them, and tried to adopt him. Pete’s biological mother wouldn’t consent. Undaunted, my parents said, with Shakespeare, that nothing’s in a name that can’t touch the underlying essence of the thing. A rose is a rose is a rose, and Peter was and would forevermore be their Son, every bit as much as Mike. Mom and dad made that decision, gave Peter a safe, secure, and loving home, and help him build a fine life for himself.
The way my mom and dad tell it, when I came home from the hospital after the somewhat significant occasion of my birth, Peter, 6, and my other brother, Mike, 3, entered the house from the back porch door after a session of play in the back yard. “Shhhhhh,” she said. “The baby’s sleeping.” The point is that Peter has been in my life for every moment of my life. All that ended, in as an abrupt manner as you could imagine, on Friday last (June 14). I found out about it the day after. Thus, I lived one day in ignorance of his new, better, and unearthly existence.
Pete was as much of a brother as any other could be. We are, any two of us, on God’s good earth at least no farther removed than 50th cousins from any other human being who shares this valley of tears on the third stone from the sun, and so we have a blood connection with Peter in far closer proximity. The important connection, however, has been and always will be at the soul level. When you have a brother, the link can be summed up in an instant, by the will. It lies in the memories we shared.
Only four other people (plus dogs and cats) were there for every part of my formative years: Pete, Mike, mom, and dad. Now one of them is gone. He is not forgotten, nor will he be, and he yet lives in some fashion only explicable by the intersection of biology, faith, metaphysics, the quantum world, mathematics, and spirituality — or what we crudely sum up with the word “God.”
I won’t pretend to know anything about “God.” I do know that I have an existence, and I can extrapolate from that. When I do, I arrive at the Place that is no place, the Being that is All Being, the circle whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere. That’s where Pete is.
Again, let me thank all of my dear friends who have contacted me with condolences. On behalf of my family, including Mom (91) and Dad (92), please accept my eternal gratitude. — DAN VALENTI, JUNE 19, 2013, evening