Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Eighth Year

It was only a year we knew each other, and even then, our interaction was minimal. I was, admittedly, shy, not knowing my place. You were large and in charge, and scared me a little bit. But I was starting to love him, and loving him included loving you. I thought we’d be family someday. I dreamed of a marriage, a little house, family get-togethers, little babies with his dark eyes, or maybe your light ones.

I remember the call I got from him, early one morning. His voice told me everything I needed to know. My mom asked me the tough question. "Are you ready to deal with this?" I had to be, I knew I had to be ready. He needed me. It was bad news, the worst news.

After that, the days were a blur. I wanted time to pass, to fast forward to happier times, when the wound was less raw. Not my wound directly, but because it was his, it was mine. I watched things change, I watched him change. He was left with a lot of unanswered questions.

I remember the day we talked, you and me, when I sat by your stone and told you all about myself. Things I should have said while you were here, things I wish you knew about me. Things I wish you knew about him. I made promises to you, and I don’t know if you heard me. It was like we’d never spoken before, and in a way, we hadn’t. My words seemed to hang in the air, in that spot sacred; in fact, the air was thick with words that people have been saying to stones for years. Never knowing if they’re heard. Never hearing back. I cried a lot of tears, selfish ones mostly, but some for the relationship we’d never have.

And even to this day, I wonder. Would you like me? Would you be proud of him? Would you love our babies, swing them up in the air, send them cards and love notes and little packages? Would you call every now and then just to hear their voices? One day they’ll know all about you, about your life, and about how you were taken away from them. They’re too young to know now, although I sometimes wonder if Owen doesn’t know more than we think.

I don’t know why I’m thinking about all of this, today any more than usual. Something in the wind, maybe. Or sometimes I catch a look in the face of my son, and I think of you. Your own son thinks of you, too, although he tends to brood and keep it inside. Is that something he got from you? I can’t know first-hand. Writing about it won’t fill any voids, and doesn’t give anyone any answers. But it balms, the remembering. There’s solace in memories, even if it’s holding hands with tragedy.

So I remember you today, and every day.


Deanna said...


Wow, what a beautiful post. Thanks for letting us see this moment through your eyes.


Anonymous said...

The was beautiful!! And Robyn he would of loved you and would have been very proud of the grand babies you both have given him, and he watches over them both! It was a very tragic way for us all to lose him especially Laura and Keith. He'll never be forgotten for all he did! He is and was proud of Keith for the man he became. He reminds me alot of his dad. And as I have said before Ari looks alot like his grandpa! We love you all, Give Keith an extra big hug from us! Love Kim

Anonymous said...

Yes, he did brood.

Christy said...

His birthday was February 3rd. Mine is Feb 12th. Born less than a year apart. For nine days out of each year, we were the same age, Troy and I. It was a time that I looked forward to… something special that my little brother and I had in common.

I can still remember the day I accidentally hit him in the head with the hoe, as he and I were out hoeing weeds in the yard. We were so little that I can’t remember our ages… 3? 4? Poor little guy got stitches on the crown of his head that day.

I still remember the day, also at our home in Harbison Canyon, when he ran home covered head to toe with black ants. Our screams filled the air as Mom got them cleaned off of him.

The Dials, our neighbors, were special friends to our family… we called them “Grandma” and “Grandpa”. I still remember the day that Troy saw a rattlesnake in the woodpile at their home. A tiny tot, he ran for Dad, yelling, “A WATTO-NAKE!! A WATTO-NAKE!” (He had trouble pronouncing R and S when he was little.) Dad still loves to tell that story.

I remember us taking turns on the tire swing at the Dial’s home. It was such a beautiful view, under the pepper and willow trees at the top of the hill in back of the house. The tire swung out over the hill, making you feel like you were high enough to touch the sky. They had chickens, too, which fascinated us. Mrs. Dial sewed rag dolls for Penny and I. (Mine, over 40 years old now, are still tucked away for safekeeping.) Inside their old home, the lights in the upstairs bedrooms were never lit. When we had to use the bathroom there, we ran as fast as we could past the dark doorways, fearful of the ghosts that might linger within.

We had our own metal swing set at home, though I don’t personally remember the day Troy fell off and broke his collarbone. But I do have faint memories of the scarf Mom tied around his neck and arm.

We used to hunt for lizards and horny toads in our yard. Penny would always try to scare us, saying that horny toads could bleed from their eyes. I never saw it myself, so I doubted her for the longest time. After all, she was always wrong about the bees…

“That bee is dead, Christy. Pick it up!” I was too young to count the number of times she played that trick on me. Like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football that Lucy pulled away, I picked up bee after bee, and was stung numerous times.

I still remember the day that Mom, Penny, Troy and I trooped down the dirt road, on our way to the Dial’s house for a visit. As we passed Henrietta’s house, Penny yelled out at the top of her lungs the very thing Mom had just warned her not to tell anybody. “ Hi, Henrietta! We have worms!” Mom almost died of embarrassment as she scrambled to get us out of there. (Back in those days, they used castor oil for it. Yuck!)

I remember when Troy had his tonsils out, and he got ice cream to soothe his throat. Penny and I were so jealous.

I remember the huge Lego doll house that Dad made for us all one Christmas.

The memories are harder to dredge up now. But I remember that Troy and I loved to tease each other relentlessly. In spite of the sibling rivalry that the three of us harassed each other with, Penny and I loved him dearly. We were always a trio… Penny, Christy and Troy. When the Lord took him home, it was like part of my identity was taken away… the third musketeer was gone.

His Loving Sister,