My turn. A turn no one wants to take. Actually my turn came first, seven years before B lost Danny. Twenty two years ago, on July 19, 1999, my brother Jim was found deceased.
Jimbo Pete. Willie to my Peaches. He was troubled yet in many ways his passing wasn’t a surprise. His lifestyle took him to the edge, homeless, living on the fringe. Earlier that year as we laid to rest a school friend, he kept telling me how he wished he could trade places. She had so much more to live for than him (his words). He said he was going to change, this was his wakeup call, like he was getting a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th chance.
Try as he might, fate intervened. I got the call that day from the owners of Craft Country. Someone from the clinic across the street found him as they were opening up. All appearances looked like he had a seizure and hit his head on the A/C unit. Though I believe what happened was much worse and I was told what I was told to spare me. They said someone needed to go identify the body. If we didn’t go within 72 hours, he’d be a John Doe since he was found with no ID.
They had tried to get my other brother (who was on vacation at the coast) after multiple attempts to reach my dad (who was road tripping it on his honeymoon). This was a time before cell phones kept people connected 24/7. Much of the remainder of the day was a blur. I got ahold of my sister at work. Ever so slowly information was passed along while in utter disbelief.
After the shock wore off, there came relief. Few knew the depths of his sufferings, outside our small core. Heaven help me, I was glad he no longer had to bear his mortal coil. I do still wonder though. What if? Could things have ever turned a corner for him?
This is my attempt to write something new this year. Something to release the pain but I couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t feel like overstepping. Maybe I’ve already said too much. Yet something about the pandemic makes me realize nothing good ever comes from hiding things. If just one person sees themselves in his sad tale and reaches out for help with alcohol abuse, blabbing would have been worth it.
And now, a fitting musical tribute to all who are gone but not forgotten. ❤
As always, more to come.