Am I my brother’s killer?

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“Cain and Abel,” pen and ink by Herbert Mandel.

After dreaming I killed one of my brothers with a chainsaw I woke up sick and in physical pain. I was trying to get more sleep and couldn’t, as my real life and this dream were mingled. While I was waking, I was trying to plan what I needed to do to avoid getting caught. 

In my dream my brothers and I had been on a hunting/fishing trip – something we’ve never done in real life – and decided that one brother must be killed. Even the brother to be killed was in agreement. And with a chainsaw I began the awful process of killing and dismembering. My dying brother hung on for a while and after I had finished my part he was not ready to move on. Another brother then picked up the chainsaw and ran it into his open torso and sawed up his heart until the blood and water flushed out and then he stopped wailing and finally died. 

I have five brothers, one is with the Lord (my baby brother) and four are still living. Last year baby brother took his own life and brother No. 4 nearly died from an untreated medical condition, as well. The youngest of eight children died a violent bloody self-inflicted death, and brother No. 4 was found unconscious by his son – which initially saved his life. Then he dangled by a thread for many days. No one knew if he would land among the living or dead.

In my dream I was well aware that we would all be questioned and we all needed to get our story straight in order to avoid being caught. But with all the Big Brother type surveillance how could we fabricate a reasonable story of where our brother was and what happened. I don’t know which was more unbearable, the act of killing or torment of getting caught.

Of course the Biblical question, “Where is your brother Abel?” comes to mind. His response, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” has always haunted me, even more now. Where was I when my brother died, where was I while another was dying? I knew where they were, but can not tell you where I was. I certainly wasn’t in the place I should’ve been. I wasn’t in the place where they needed me to be! Am I my brother’s killer?

A friend’s life changed dramatically in the past year or so, through no fault of their own, and currently dangles by a thread. Thank God this person should make it and not need medical miracles to get their life back – and I could go on with similar stories too close to home, but I’ll only say I’m listening, Lord. I’m paying close attention and feeling about as guilty as if I did kill my brother. 

I am my brother’s keeper, and need to live according to our Lord’s instruction, starting in Genesis all the way through the last verse of Revelation. We in America complain how little time we have and must listen to ourselves – we must use our time and resources to honor our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If we can live like our Lord and Savior (our perfect example), maybe then we won’t wonder, “Am I my brother’s killer?”



Jim Robidoux is father of four, lives and works in Manchester, and writes about life in The Life Section – specifically, his own, and how he sees the world through his Christian faith. He enjoys bicycling to work, urban gardening, and watching the Phillies at Billy’s. And he happens to be married to Manchester Ink Link editor Carol Robidoux. He can be reached at