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On death

September 16th, 2007 · No Comments · Uncategorized

As it happens every year around this time, my mind turns to death.  I’ve learned that fighting it or shoving it into the corner of my mind doesn’t work but only makes my heart dwell on it longer.  No, better to bring it front and center to let it walk with me for a short time and then I know it will go away again.  Until next year. 

My brother’s birthday will be here soon and this year he would be 39 years old.  He never graduated from high school, never married, and never had children.  I didn’t cry for him when my stepdad Leon told me he’d taken his own life, I cried for my mother.  In fact, I held that anger towards him for several years before I finally let it out and to this day I’ve never once read the note he left.  My father keeps it, somewhere.  Haven’t we all been there at some point?  Thinking life is not worth living?  Thinking of how much easier it would be to once and for all be done with the pain?  He was so young to make that decision and that one choice affected so many people in so many ways.  Our family had already been through so much that year.  In one year’s time we lost my father’s only brother, my Grandpa, my great Grandma, and then my brother.  I tell you what, I’ve never seen strength in another human like I witnessed that year from my Grandmother.  She lost her brother-in-law, husband, mother-in-law, and her grandson that year and how she held on I’ll never know.  I hope like hell I never go through another year like that.  We named our oldest son, Darren, after my brother.

I’ve also been thinking about my husband’s grandson that we lost several years ago.  Maybe because Ed’s son, Nick, was here recently and I always notice him hugging Vincent, our youngest.  You see, his son was the same age as Vincent and I can only imagine what goes through his mind as he shoots baskets with him.  Of all the things I’ve had to do, you know the list of things you do because you have to, I think attending the funeral of this sweet innocent child has been one of the hardest.  I remember seeing that tiny casket and watching my husband walk towards it and then seeing his knees buckle.  Had his three children, just children themselves actually, not surrounded him and physically held him up, I’m not sure he could have remained standing.  It’s the only time in 13 years together that I’ve seen him lose control of his emotions and it was all I could do not to rush over and comfort him.  But his children were there and I remained in a corner, trying to hold myself together and not doing that very well.  No one should ever have to attend the funeral of a child.

I think of a year ago sitting in the doctor’s office with Ed and saying, “Well he just can’t live like this!” And then my heart just stopped as she answered, “No Lisa, he can’t.  He won’t.  I give him two years unless we can find a medication that will work.”  As I watch him today, climbing a ladder in the barn while hanging lights, and I’m so grateful to have more time with him.

Grandparents, uncles, and friends.  I pull out those memories and think for a while on each of them.  And then there’s my own brush with death to remember.  As the kids get on my last nerve and the chores overwhelm me I try to remember waking up from surgery and hearing Charlene (my nurse for the evening) telling me that my baby most likely would die in a short time and I would too if I didn’t fight with everything I had.  I remember Ed telling me that the doctor had come out from several hours of surgery asking him who to save and I remember asking him why on earth he didn’t tell them to save the baby.  I remember the doctor telling me that he’d never seen anyone sicker live and I had a 34 week pregnancy going on as well so it didn’t look good.  And I remember waking up to see my four doctor’s watching the baby monitor as Darren’s heart-rate climbed back to normal.  I remember thinking, “If I live I will live each day like it’s my last.”  I hate it when I forget to do that.  For pity’s sake every time I look down there’s a 2” wide scar running down my entire belly – you’d think I’d never forget it.

There.  Done.  I’ll pack these up now and put them back further in my mind.  Until next year.

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