I’m having a very bluesy Tuesday. I just can’t seem to get motivated. When my alarm went off this morning I didn’t even bother to hit the snooze alarm like I normally do to get that extra few minutes of sleep. Instead I reached over and shut off the alarm, rolled over and went back to sleep. Even after I woke up again and was wide awake, I just stayed in bed. I had absolutely no desire to get up and begin the day. Eventually I finally convinced myself to get up. So I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and made my way to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Thanks to our Keurig that process has sure become simple. Gotta love those k-cups. From there I went into the family room, plopped down in my chair and turned on the morning news. And so it began.
What has me so blue? well tomorrow is the anniversary of my brother Ted’s death. It was five years ago that authorities discovered his body behind a Covina strip mall not far from the mobile home park where he’d been staying with my dad. I will never forget that morning. I was sitting in my office talking to one of my seniors when I got the call. The manager of the park called and told me that I should get to my dad’s mobile home right away. I immediately thought something had happened to my dad but she told me my dad was okay. I asked her what had happened but she didn’t want to tell me she just kept telling me to hurry to my dad’s.
I found it strange that the manager wouldn’t give me any details. I had gotten to know her pretty well over the past couple of years because of situations my brother had gotten himself into at the park including one serious enough to have him evicted from the park and having a restraining order issued to keep him off the property. But having nowhere else to go he had gone back under cover of darkness and was illegally staying with my dad. Funny, he thought no one knew he was there but they did. She had called to let me know that he had returned. The management had simply been looking the other way because they were fond of my father and the next step would have been evicting both of them from the park.
I then asked her if it had to do with my brother. Had he gotten into it with my dad? Had something happened to my brother? She finally relented and told me that a body had been found behind the stores adjacent to the park. The park security had identified the victim as my brother. The police would soon be going to my dad’s mobile home to inform him so I needed to hurry and hurry I did. I rushed in to tell my supervisor what had happened and was out the door.
The drive from Azusa High School to Covina was rough. I called my wife and my sister along the way and drove on with my head spilling over with thoughts. My bro was an alcoholic and enjoyed dabbling with drugs. He’d been dry for nearly two years but had recently fallen off the wagon, and fallen hard. Could he have been drunk or stoned? Did he overdose? Was he assaulted or beaten? Had he been somewhere, a party perhaps, passed out or something then dumped behind the strip mall and left to die? There were so many questions, so many possibilities. Even though the family had long anticipated one day getting a phone call like this, when it happens it still knocks the wind out of you.
When I arrived at the park the area where Ted had been found was cordoned off with yellow tape. There were several police cars, a fire emergency vehicle and an ambulance on scene. I made it a point not to look down the alleyway where his body was. I didn’t need to see that. When I pulled up to my dad’s a police car was already there. I went in and found one policeman talking to my dad and the other in my brothers room collecting his medications. My dad was doing okay . He was holding his own. Like I said we had been expecting something like this for years. My sister arrived a short time later. We were stunned.
Time passes so damn quickly. I can’t believe it’s been five years already. I miss my brother. I loved him. When he wasn’t under the influence he was one of the kindest people you could ever hope to meet. He was caring, loving and a joy to be around. But when he’d been drinking he could be a monster. Before he fell off the wagon, we (family) enjoyed two years of having a sober Ted around. We had some great times, some awesome moments. I wish things could have worked out differently but God has a plan for all of us. Ted’s passing was part of that Divine Plan.
And all those thoughts I had on my drive that day were a total waste of my time and energy. Weeks after his passing we learned that at the time of his death there were no illegal drugs in his system and his blood alcohol level was way below the legal limit. His body had simply grown tired and at 49 simply stopped working. The doctor who performed the autopsy said his death was painless. He said what happened to my brother was like a short circuit. His heart simply stopped pumping. Judging from the position they found my brother, flat on his back, the doctor speculated that Ted was walking home when he had heart failure. He was able to continue for a bit then probably began to feel faint as his oxygen began to dwindle. He more than likely sat himself down then laid down hoping he’d feel better soon, then simply passed out and away. I hope that’s true because my brother had experienced far too much pain in life already.
I’d like to believe that the last thing my brother saw as he laid there on his back was the beautiful starry sky. How peaceful that would have been. I also hope that the first thing he experienced after passing was my mother’s warm embrace welcoming him into the Forever After. I miss you bro. See you when I see you….