Thursday, December 29, 2005
A post I wasn't going to post
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....
posted by Norman at 9:44 AM | Permalink |


  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 11:36:00 AM, Blogger Tammy


    I understand exactly what you're going through. My brothers have been gone for 14 and 12 years respectively. I miss them both terribly and remember the scenes surrounding their deaths as if they happened yesterday. Its a pain that you will never forget.

    I hope you leave this post up. I think its good for you to get it out.

  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Heidi

    Comforting hugs to you.

    Please don't delete this..It was raw and powerful and good for you to get it all out in writing as Tammy has said.

    Your brother will never be forgotten...Thankyou for sharing.

    Happy 8th Anniversary~

  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 3:20:00 PM, Blogger Nap Queen

    I am so sorry. What a well written post, and I think that is so cool that you were able to find that blog post from one of his friends.

  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 3:24:00 PM, Blogger pack of 2

    I am so sorry that you went through all of that at such a young age. I'm am glad that you posted this. It is important to let stuff like that out...even if you do decide to delete it still did it & that is what counts.

    That is so wonderful that his friends posted about him too. I'm sure it's nice to know that others are still thinking of him too.

    I hope you had a wonderful anniversary!!!



  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:24:00 PM, Blogger Livey

    *Hugs* Norm!
    What a wonderful tribute to your brother!
    Don't know what else to say, I just wanna squeeze ya!

  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:26:00 PM, Blogger Freak Magnet

    Wow. I come on here expecting to get a laugh and am instead moved to tears by the very eloquent way you wrote about your brother. I can't imagine what that must be like, and I'm sorry you have to know.

    I'll hug ya, too, no matter how long I have to wait in line.

  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:38:00 PM, Blogger pack of 2

    What a wonderful post. I also think you should leave it up. Thank you for allowing us to know your brother, just a little bit, from his little sister's heart. I'm so sorry that you and your family went through that. Your brother will always be with you, watching out for you and loving you.

    Big hugs Norman.


  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 8:45:00 PM, Blogger Michelle

    I feel your pain, sweety.And I think you should leave it up, it's a very nice memorial to him.

  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 8:55:00 PM, Blogger Norman

    awwww... Thanks guys.

    That was such a hard post to do. I can't tell you what a shocker it was to find that someone blogged about him. I sent that blogger an email thanking him for the story about Mike. It was like a present. I think he was just as shocked as I was that a family member read it. I really do love the fact that my brother made an impact on people's lives.

    But thanks again ya'll. You guys are great!!

  • At Thursday, December 29, 2005 10:18:00 PM, Blogger momyblogR

    Don't delete the post. What a beautiful memory of a big brother by his little sister.

    This post gave me a good cry. It's a horrible thing that happen to your brother and his friend. But the fact that another person also cherishes the memory of your brother and it is your specail day with your hubby does make that day more than tragic.

    Thank you for sharing such a painful and special memory.


  • At Friday, December 30, 2005 4:12:00 AM, Blogger Linda and Denny

    Whew, still blinking back tears, sweetie. A very powerful and loving post which is its own memorial to a special man. How wonderful you chose to honor your brother's memory by making the anniversary of his death a testament to life by getting married on the 27th. Please keep the post there as those memories are part of your "same ol', same ol'" life, which all of us know is not all jokes and sunshine. Big hugs to you and your family, Norm.

  • At Friday, December 30, 2005 6:41:00 AM, Blogger Victoria

    Please dont delete this post. Its beautiful and loving and should stay. I love how you made the 27th your wedding anniversary too. I just discovered your blog yesterday and have already saved it so I can read it everyday. You seem so sweet and funny and I love the ghost stories. Did you throw your coffee in the trash? Happy New Year.

  • At Friday, December 30, 2005 9:53:00 AM, Blogger Lesley

    Wow. That was a beautiful post.

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I think that it was a very brave thing for you to post this. I also think it's very cool that your anniversary is the 27th too. As a previous commenter said, you made the day a testament to life. Very nice.

  • At Friday, December 30, 2005 10:23:00 AM, Blogger Norman

    Thanks again guys... it really means a lot to me that so many of you commented with cyber hugs and nice sentiments...

    I'll go with the overwhelming majority and let this post remain...


  • At Friday, December 30, 2005 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Greg the Surly

    *hugs* (And a bit of random groping when no ones looking).

  • At Wednesday, December 27, 2006 10:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Tis the season for memories, good and bad. My husband hates it because of his childhood, so we deal with that.
    Big (((hugs))) from here to you.
    There is another blogger with fond memories of her brother at
    Glad to see you're leaving the post up. A wedding on his day, such a great way to honor the tragedy.

Get awesome blog templates like this one from