When I was called home that fateful day, I remember waking up that morning when anticipation, not a good anticipation, but a feeling that something was not quite right in the world and that the axis had shifted a little to the right. I went to the training class and right before we left the room to do some team project, I remember mentioning to the teacher that when the red phone rang to please come and get me right away. I recall that the teacher looked at me strangely, but told me that she would. I was out in the hallway for only 10 minutes when the teacher came out of the classroom, looked at me and said that I needed to go to the administrative offices right away. When I asked why, the teacher's face drained of all color and told me that there was an emergency at home. The next few hours felt like I was slowly wading through mud with the waiting for the secretary to change my plane tickets, the silent ride to the airport, the waiting at the terminal for my flight to the constant phone calls to everyone to find out what was going on. No one would answer the phones, except my boss, who sounded like someone trying to hard to keep a terrible secret. When I arrived in my hometown, my older brother and his wife were waiting outside the doors of the terminal for me. I ran up to my brother, hugged him and said "won't you be glad when this is all over with Mike?" For a mere second, I saw my brother almost lose it, but he sucked whatever he was feeling in, looked at me and said something like yeah, me too! Little did I know at the time what I was going to be told. As we left the terminal, my brother headed towards our destination, or so I thought. When he ended taking the exit towards our house, I frantically started questioning why (while we were driving from the airport, my sister-in-law was constantly talking about anything, and all I could think to myself was shut the hell up! She later told me, she did not know what to say, so she just starting talking to keep me from questioning the route home and to keep my brother from wrecking the car) we were not going straight to the hospital and my sister-in-law starting really trying to change the subject on me! I started to get agitated, and I could see that my brother was trying his best to hold himself together. When we arrived at the house a few minutes later (we only lived about 10 minutes from the airport) I jumped out of the car and ran into the house, especially after I saw all these cars out in front of the house. As I came in the back door, there were all these people in the kitchen surrounding my parents, who looked like they had been crying all day. My mom turned towards me with this awful look on her face, as if I had done something so terribly wrong to her. I felt like someone just punched me in the stomach, and I started to shake my head...NO...my father came towards me....sobbing, just sobbing, and said "I am so sorry, but your brother is gone....and he grabbed me in a tight hug as I beat on his chest, saying NO! NO! NO!....I would not let him hold me, I pushed him away and ran out of the house screaming....all the way down the street, crying....my dad's friend George, my Aunt Karen and one of my little brother's friend followed me out the door...My Aunt tried to stop me, my brother's friend tried to reason with me, but it was George, who gently touched my arm and said....come here, stop running and let us help you through this...Big, burly, old school, city Police Officer George....was the one who helped me back into the house and comforted me.
I am crying as I type this, so bear with me, please.
We went to the funeral home to drop off his clothes, the same funeral parlor that we used to sit behind on those warm days when we were out skate boarding (one of his friends told me that they used to sneak in that funeral home to get drinks of water when they skated the parking lot) and then I went to pick up my son from my friends house. He was only a year and a half old, and at this point just starting to get to really know and love his Uncle. I hugged him, and would not let him out of my site the rest of the day. The next day, my mom, sister-in-law and I went to the cemetery where a family plot was given to us to use to bury my brother at, but the director wanted a substantial deposit that my parents did not have. We had a portion of it, but the director was giving my mom such a hard time, and would not back down until I lost it, leaned over the desk and screamed in his face "What the hell do you think we are going to do, have the freaking funeral, put in him the ground and then dig him up later that night so that we don't have to pay for the rest of the burial fees?" I then tried to storm out of the office only to find that the door would not push out, but had to be pulled open to leave and almost took the whole glass door out with my bare hands. I stood there watching the glass door quiver, waiting for it to explode, and when it settled down, I pulled the door open with such force that I almost took it off its hinges. Needless to say that it was not my best hour, but it did make the guy have some compassion for my parents and let my mom pay what she had until the insurance money came in. We left the cemetery and took care of other minor errands such as finding me a dress, locating a piece of jewelry for my siblings and I to share as one last memento with our brother and to grief into my pillow later that night, exhausted from all the activity surrounding us. The next day, my mom asked me to run my little brother's class ring up to the funeral parlor for them to put on his finger. I went by myself, and when I got to the back door, I could not open it to go into the place. I had to talk myself into doing that, and when I did, I ran into the place and almost knocked one of the directors down because I was so afraid of being in that place. I practically threw the ring at the guy and told him that it was for my brother and left as fast as I could.....I have to end this here, cannot say anymore right now, too spent...thanks for reading so far....
When we were little, one of my brother's and I favorite things to do at our Grandma Mac's house was to color with the crayons from the big, old candy container and to use tissues to soften the crayon marks on the coloring pages! We would spend hours coloring so perfectly right inside the lines, and then almost waste a box of tissues scrubbing away at the crayon marks! We were quite the trio when we wanted to be! I miss those days!