My thoughts were to come here today to tell you all about my Texas trip to be with my family—the first Thanksgiving I’ve had with them since I was a teenager.
I wanted to tell you all about how I spent a morning hand grinding the corn my uncles grew on their Arkansas farm and how mom and I made cornbread out of it for the dressing – and how we used mom’s home-grown herbs to help season it.
How I actually really did UnPlug for the entire trip—about ten days—and it was wonderful, even though I am so behind now in emails and comments and blogs and facebooks and twitters; however, it was worth it to spend all this time with family. I’ll do this more often but for shorter spurts.
I wanted I tell you about the thousands of grackles I saw while my brother and I were out and about--all over the trees, carpeting a field--thousands! I wanted to talk about the cooking. The laughing. The land of Texas. Family.
And I was going to keep the tragic to myself and not share it with all of you.
But I find I can’t write about all those things above without writing about the tragic. The way will not open up clearly for me to do this. So I suppose I must clear the way by telling you about it.
Many of you know that I have biological family in West Virginia. I didn’t grow up with my biological mother, but instead was adopted by my stepmother—who became my mother, my mom—With her and my biological dad, I grew up with four brothers--we lost our David to a heart attack in 1994, and my three remaining brothers and I have grown even closer.
But, in West Virginia, I had a half-sister and a half-brother for whom I didn’t know well--they were doing their growing up with my biological mother and her husband--we have the same mother but different fathers. Whole other lives I didn't know much about.
Kim is my half sister. Steve is my half-brother and I remember him as a freckled-faced dark-haired sweet boy that I saw a few times when I was a teenager. Steve grew into a man without me having seen him for many years. Then, a few years ago, I visited West Virginia and we re-connected. We talked, laughed, compared our similar ways that we couldn’t believe were similar since we hadn’t grown up together. He once pointed to me and said, “OMG! I didn’t know anyone else did that but me . . .” and I could tell he needed the tie to this person, this big sister he never was able to know very well.
Just a day after I arrived in Texas, I received a call. Dear Steve had shot himself. Gone. He’s forever gone from the earth. A moment’s decision and he’s left behind a wife and child and all the others who loved him. I can’t quite fathom it. Can’t quite wrap my brain around it to take it in to believe it.
Suicide is not painless as the song says. It leaves behind in its terrible claws confusion and heartache and questions and wonderings. Bewilderment.
His memorial was this past Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. There is no more freckled-faced dark-haired boy. There is no more Big Man he grew into. There is no more half-brother. There is no more father, son, husband. There is no more Steve.
Now, it is said and done. Much as I didn't want to write or talk about it, I guess I needed to just say/write it so that the reality will set in.
I will be back later and I know I will talk about regular old things. Because that’s how life is. Turning Turning Turning goes the world. I don’t know why some have the need to jump off the turning world before their time, but I do not judge them.
Kiss your loved ones and live your life and most of all stay with us to the end, please.