I’ve debated on writing about this experience. Part of me wants to share it, because the more I share the less power it has. Another part of me wants to keep it all to myself and not let it out into the light. Perhaps if I don’t speak the words, or write them, this day didn’t really happen.
But it did.
I can’t decide what is worse, the not knowing or the knowing.
Last night when I picked my kids up from my mom’s house she expressed concern over my brother. He had left laundry with her and said he would need it by Monday. She thought he had a doctor’s appointment Monday so she arrived at his house, pounded on the door, honked her horn and received no response. She thought maybe she had the day wrong. She tried calling and his phone went straight to voice mail.
My mom and brother are very close. They talk to each other at least every other day if not every day. He lived alone and my mom lived alone. They had time for each other.
My brother has disappeared before, but that was earlier in his life. Recently, he had a condition which caused his skin to slough off of his legs and created sores which would weep and bleed. It did not make sense that he would not be somewhere, tending to his wounds with a phone readily available.
Today is Wednesday. The last time anyone heard from him was Sunday night. On my way to work I thought I would stop by his place, pound on the door, wake him up and put everyone’s nerves at ease. When I arrived, I had that feeling. The intuitive feeling that something was not right. I pounded on his door, shouting his name. I pounded on the windows which he kept tightly sealed and covered as he usually slept during the day.
I debated on whether I should wake the landlady. She was elderly and it was 8:00 a.m. Then, a thought was presented to me, “This is more important.”
I was able to get a couple spare keys from his landlady. One key worked on the top dead bolt, another key worked on the door knob, but there was a third lock which I did not have a key for. I couldn’t get the door open. As frustrated as I was at the time, it turned out to be a blessing.
I called my sister to ask who I needed to contact; she told me to call the Police Department and said she would leave work to join me. The Police Department sent two cars over right away and tried every means possible to enter the house.
The police officers found a window they were able to pry open.
At this point I was thinking, “They aren’t going to find anything. Craig is going to show up this afternoon and he’s going to be upset that his window is broken.” I was so sure, I had even left a voice mail at work saying I should be in by 8:30.
An officer crawled through the window.
My sister asked, “He’ll go to the front door and unlock it, right?”
The second officer said, “Yes, unless he finds something.”
The front door didn’t open.
Why wasn’t the front door opening? Why? He should have unlocked it by now! Where is he?
He came to the window and said something to the officer standing outside the window.
The officer told us, “He’s in there.”
No. No. No. No.
He was NOT supposed to be in there. At least he had to be alive.
I asked, “Did he pass?”
The officer nodded.
The sounds of grief can be never ending echoes of wailing.
My sister says I shouted, “NO!!!” and looked as if I was going to fall to my knees. She came over and hugged me to keep me upright. All I know is I was crying so hard I wanted to throw everything up. I did not want to be me at that moment hearing that horrible, heart-wrenching news. I wanted to purge it all out. I wanted to be someone else who did not love this person so deeply that her heart was going to ache for years over him.
I didn’t want to leave him there. I didn’t want to leave his house. I wanted my brother back. I became so angry I wanted to destroy something, even if it was myself. They made me leave. I wasn’t ready, but they made me.
I went back later in the day, sat in his driveway and wrote to him. I left flowers in his door with a note that finished, “Love Goose.” (His nickname for me)
My brother’s battle has ended…
but I feel my battle has just begun…