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.