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My older brother's passing last October caused considerable turmoil in my family. The end result of the turmoil was two-fold: I received a stern talking-to about the responsibility of intelligent people not to provoke the less intelligent people (also known as, "With great power comes great responsibility"), and the family I would have preferred (also known as, "my life-long tormentor has left the building").

The stern talking-to was interesting.

As I listened to the words, I also listened to my body, noting when I reacted with anger ("He started it!" and "What the fuck did he think would happen when he announced carrying a gun and inciting violence was the way to a better life over exercising and surrounding yourself with happiness, meaning, and loved ones?") and calming myself down. I paid some attention to my body language, leaning in when I wanted to lean away, uncrossing my arms and releasing my fists when I wanted to curl in upon myself, and relaxing my face when I wanted to scowl.

And I listened.

Eric was not wrong.

The person hurt most in all of this was my mother. She endured verbal abuse from Chris' girlfriend. She endured both Chris and his girlfriend calling her second son a second class citizen, unworthy of a healthy life. She endured Chris' punishing her for his stupidity. She endured her grandchildren walking away because their aunt was right, their father was wrong, and fathers are never wrong. She was the one who suffered, which is the only part of the whole ordeal I am truly sad about.

What caught my attention fully, though, was Eric's choice of words. He commented that intelligent people who know how stupid people can be need to deescalate. Stupid people are incapable of doing so. Smart people can figure out how people work, and adjust accordingly.

So, DEESCALATION as become my word for 2018.

It is a good word, worthy of a year.

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