Heavy, medicated sleep, my body weak and tender but I am awakened. My husband’s worried face looks long and pained through the smears of my blurry eyes. ” I need to tell you something,” he says, “and it’s not good, it’s going to be very hard for you.” My first imaginings were nowhere near as horrible as the next sentence which sliced the air, my heart.
My nearest brother. This can’t be.
28 years young, never a girlfriend, a dream job, a wife. No first-born, no travels, no wrinkles from life. My ears hear you’re gone now, slipped out while you slept, but my mind can’t yet comprehend.
I wanted to jump up and drive and drive ’till I got to you, to see you and touch you and say it’s not true. I got up to try and my body kept failing, the pain and the retching they sneered at my grieving and gave me more mountains to climb. I lay at the doctor with needles and tubing and scoffed in my mind when they said “this will help you, will give you more time.” Nothing you give me can heal me or soothe me, just hurry this up, for my family, they need me.
Trying again to gather my strength, I gathered and folded and dug through the shoes to take us to Kansas to tell my brother goodbye. Again though the thorn in my flesh was too much and instead I melted, exhausted and tearful while my gracious best Buddy stepped in. With grace and with kindness he put us together and packed us in tight to begin the hardest of journeys.
I try to sleep, but my dreams are only replays of my reality. My belly that would not be coaxed to eat even before the news is cemented in emptiness, or is it just pain?
My brother, my Ben, you’ve left me so broken, my memories now swaddled in grief. Grief. Again. My familiar companion, and still I have not figured the balm that would soothe such a terrible wound.
There were plans we had, remember? For when you were going to move to Colorado and be near me again. I was to be your Paramedic, and you my partner, saving lives together; swapping stories and jokes that no one else understands. We were going to introduce you to all our fine ladies that one day you might find your true love. You were the sibling I first shared a beer with, and the only one that could use a few swear words back at me. You were the one I so ferociously protected, that no one would make an ill comment or hurt your innocent heart. The day you called and asked me how to become an EMT, my heart swelled. It swelled so big with my pride for you, for my sweet little brother following my footsteps.
I watched you, both proud and so saddened as you fiercely chased your dream to become a firefighter, and kept going past every closed door. I knew in my heart they never could take you, the seizures were too much a risk, but I never could tell you because I didn’t want to be one more person that crushed your dream. I admired your determination, and secretly wished I could beg of those chiefs to please make you some kind of job. I knew you’d be happy just to be “in,” wearing that Maltese cross. I smiled each time you would text me or call me to share of a wild night’s calls. I giggled at your “green-ness” but knew it didn’t matter, ’cause you were over the moon.
I have searched for more, to learn of this Heaven, and what it is like where you are. The comfort is twofold, as I know that your last night you closed your eyes to sleep, that you opened them to the most amazing, indescribable place, and your niece, my Ellie, she welcomed you there and you both will welcome me home.
Today I will see all those other sad faces as we prepare to celebrate you. I won’t know what to say, I won’t know what to do, but sit in the heavy of grieving for you.
|Benjamin William Leake July 2, 1985-March 16, 2014|