Saturday, September 10, 2011

You Never Stop Missing.

Just over a week ago I took a road trip north to the lake country of Indiana. Our extended family has a lake cottage at Webster in Kosciousko County and Sharon's folks live on Koontz Lake in Marshall County.

On a ferociously hot Thursday afternoon I climbed in the Miata, kept the top up and the AC, and headed north. Just north of Indianapolis I stopped for fast food and put the top down. Turned off the AC. And listened to songs like "In the Still of the Night" and Jerry Butler's "For Your Precious Love."

As the air began to cool and the sun disappeared, I found myself thinking of my brother Eric. We were about two years apart in age. Close as two peas in a pod. Thick as thieves. You get the picture. We'd begin most days by strapping on our pretend six-shooters. (These were the days when Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were cowboy heroes to most young boys across the United States.)

On his 5th birthday Eric was being taken to the Hershey chocolate factory on an outing. The road was wet. The car slid. In those days before seatbelts and airbags his head tapped the dashboard and he was killed.

I heard, as my Dad drove me home from school, that Eric had been killed.

I've never gotten over his loss. The hole in my heart has never entirely healed.

So as I was driving north through Grant County, where he is buried in the Jefferson Township Cemetery, I found myself crying. Not heavily. Not enough to make it difficult to drive. But my eyes were wet. My heart ached. My world, you know, has never felt the same since that accident...since I lost him.

There has been a lot of talk lately about Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' "stages of death" (shock, denial, anger, etc.). People are now saying the stages she identifies make it look like some process you go through and then you are finished. You get a little certificate and then go on.

The truth is the work is never done. You never stop missing.

The Bible says the Lord is near to the broken-hearted. I find that a promise that keeps me going down the road...headed north.


Dan Osen said...

I was moved. Such revelations bring us closer.

Dan Osen

Grandmommie said...

Thank you for sharing this. I can not imagine what it would be like to have your child's/sibling's birthday also be the anniversary of his death. I'm sure you were a huge comfort to your mom. I had only buried sick grandparents when my sister died at 26 yrs. of age. I was 19 yrs. old. My sister was very pretty and pretty particular. She would not wear a seatbelt because it would wrinkle her clothes. A man pulled out in front of her - and her head hit the steering wheel and her brainstem was severed. Thank God there are grief counselors, support groups, clergy, who can help families learn how to carry on until you get more used to setting the table for one less, more used to your new normal. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sorry you did not get more years with your brother. I agree with you about the stages of grief. I went through them over and over again. One lesson I learned from my sister's death is that you can't escape grief. Oh you want to - but it will catch up with you. Delayed grief can be even harder to muddle through. Thank you for sharing that even ministers still miss siblings they buried long ago.

Grandmommie said...

Pastor Mark...Grandmommie is Mary Yerington. I am so pitiful with technology.

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So sad I have lost love ones to-but god will bring us thru it. Dave

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Traci P said...

I so understand your pain Mark. I too lost my brother way to early in life. He died two days shy of his 25th birthday, and was in fact, buried on his birthday. So many unknown losses, the "what if's", the growing up together, dating, marriages, sharing each other kids and families....Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your pain, and your life.

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what a great spirit that you have, got blessed you. like korean people said "ciaooo" = keep the spirit. :)

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Why did he sing his sad songs to me, I'm was not the one
To tenderly bring him soft sympathy, I'd had just begun
To see my way clear and it was plain if I stopped I would fall
I could lay down a tear for his pain, just a tear and that was all
What did he want me to do?
He said that he knew that moments were rare
I suppose that it's true
Then on he went to say I didn't care and he knew that I did
Maybe he just had to sing for the sake of the song
Who do I think that I am to decide that he was wrong?

He'd like to think that I was cruel but he knew that was a lie for I would be
No more than a tool if I allowed him to cry all over me
My sorrow is real even though I can't change my plans
If he could see now how I feel then I know that he'd understand
Did he actually think I was to blame?
Did he really believe that some word of mine
Could have relieved all his pain
Couldn't he see that he grieved just because he'd been blindly deceived,
By his “friends”
Maybe he just had to sing for the sake of the song
Who do I think that I am to decide that he was wrong?

Nothing’s what it seems, I had hoped that someday he’d realize
If he abandoned his dreams then all the words he said were only lies
Then he would see that to gain is only to lose
All that he offered me were his chains, I had to refuse
It's was only to himself that he lied
He liked to pretend there was something that he should defend with his pride
I didn't intend to stand there and be the friend from whom he must hide
Maybe he just had to sing for the sake of the song
Who do I think that I am to decide that he was wrong?

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Brenda said...

"The truth is the work is never done. You never stop missing." I lost my husband suddenly in early September this year. We were married for over 40 years and I keep waiting for him to come home. I wonder if that feeling will ever pass.

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