Because it is sad. I wasn't going to post it at all, but then something happened. I'll get to that further down.
Originally, I was going to post this on the 27th, and I typed it out, then saved it as a draft. A lot of considering went into whether or not to post it, and then I decided not to. But Dec. 27th was an anniversary for me. And not a good one. December 27th was the 24th anniversary of my big brother's death.
I think of him everyday. It's amazing but after 24 years, there has never been a day that I don't think of him. He had everything going for him. He was 21, handsome, full of life and a West Point cadet in his last year. And he was my big brother. I thought he was awesome.
He went out with his friends one night, and early in the morning, decided to head back to my aunt's house in Arlington, TX. Apparently, him and his friend, Brent had been up all night. Rather than sleep at the friend's house they were visiting, they made their way back from Duncanville, TX. My brother fell asleep at the wheel. His Mazda RX-7 caught the edge of a guardrail as it came out of the ground, effectively turning it into a ramp. His car launched off the overpass and landed upside-down on the highway below. He died instantly. I didn't learn until much later that his friend Brent, survived for a few hours before dying at the hospital. Both were life-long friends.
That morning we found out, is burned in my brain forever. I remember it as vividly as it were yesterday. For some reason, we all woke early that morning. I remember sitting on the couch watching cartoons (I was 11), when my mother came from her bedroom, wished me good morning and offered to make me hot chocolate. She went into the kitchen when the phone rang. It was 9am.
The person on the phone asked for my father. My mother called for him and told him a "Mrs. Gray" was asking for him. I look back now and think what a fitting name for her job. The next thing I remember is my mother sobbing, and my father walking her back to their room. I was confused, concerned, and scared as I followed them in there. I kept asking "what happened, what's wrong?" and I remember wondering if they were going to send me out of the room, but instead, as my parents sat on the bed, my father looked up at the ceiling, and spoke to me. "Mike was in an accident, and Mike is dead." Just like that. I remember thinking "Oh. I better cry or they'll be mad at me" So I did. But the thing is, I can't make myself cry, so I must have really needed to.
It was a horrible morning. We woke my other brother, and told him. My sister was still in Arlington at my aunt's house (we lived in San Antonio) and we arranged for her to fly home. I didn't think we'd ever be happy again. But time passed and it got easier to think of him without crying. He's always been with me, in my thoughts and in my life as I remember him. He has three namesakes in our family... my little cousin "James Michael", my nephew, "Michael Bradley", and my own daughter, "Avery Michaela". We've never stopped loving him.
And then this happened,
On December 27th, I was looking on the internet, trying to find an archived news item about him, from West Point. I googled his name, and added West Point. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, but I found so much more.
Someone blogged about my brother this last October, and I found it. What a treasure. I was amazed, brought to tears, and then happiness. He's not been forgotten by his friends, and they remembered him exactly as I did! Also - this blogger gave me a story that I had not heard. He described the memorial service given by West Point. We had no idea that a memorial service had been held for them, and this guy described the impact of it. It was amazing. The memory has stayed with him for 24 years. It was very moving to me that while we, as family still cherish his memory, so do his friends. I love that.
I miss my brother.
Like I said, I wasn't going to post about this, I even tried to just blog about the same old same old here at home. But sometimes, thoughts just stay in my head, and I think maybe if I share it with you guys, then maybe I'll feel better. Sort of like I just need to get it out.
December 27th was also our wedding anniversary. My husband & I tried to make that day a date with more than just tragedy attached. We've been married 8 years now. I still wish my brother could have met my husband.
I might delete this post. Just because. I don't know. We'll see....