Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Day Heaven Gained Another Saint

Dear Theodore,

Six years ago today you died. It's a harsh reality that I have to face every day. A harsh reality that I live with everyday. It's just unbelievable to think that it happened so long ago, and yet it feels like only yesterday. It feels like only yesterday you were building legos, drawing airplanes, and skipping about the house with your warm and loving laughter and smile. It seems like only yesterday you were here, telling us what you wanted. Bugging us for a "toy-airplane". And, it seems like only yesterday it all happened. Only yesterday that our whole world was turned upside down. Only yesterday that our world crashed. I don't know how to say it, but it's all so fresh in my mind... the hurt, the shock, the pain, the suffering, the tears, the regret, the lost... all of it. It's right there in the front of my mind... aching my heart. When will it cease? When will the aching on my heart be lifted? When will I be able to look at a picture of you and not break down inside?

The day started like every other but ended like no other. We had gotten up, eaten breakfast and began school. Nothing unusual seemed to have been occurring. Nothing out of the ordinary. But we could not have predicted it. How could we have? You were a healthy boy. You enjoyed "boyish" things. You had a wonderful life. Family and friends that really loved you and cared about you. It was idealistic. But it was all to end. And why it was the way it was, no one knows. And I guess we never will. I guess that it's just one of those things you have but never fully comprehend as to why you have it. It was around 10am when Gus found you. It was already too late, but Dad did all he could to save you. The tension and shock that was in our house was unbearable. None of us could understand it. The paramedics came and, along with mom and dad, rushed you to the emergency room. Those were the longest hours of my life. Bernadette asked me to fix up lunch for everyone, but no one wanted to eat. No one could eat. We were all in the kitchen when Dad called and Bernadette answered it. She stood there before us all and the tears began to fall. There was no doubt. But the worse that could've happened. Happened.

The tears fell down her face as she held the phone to her ear. She just sorta stood there crying. Our dear friend, who had come a little earlier, was there comforting her. Eventually she began to speak. In broken words she said:

"Theodore is..." She couldn't finish it. As much as I would have liked to believe it not true, I knew what was coming. In a quiet and shaking voice, I asked, already knowing the answer.

"Dead?" She nodded her head and everyone just stood there. Frozen. We didn't move. Just sorta stood there. Bernadette went on, repeating all that dad told her through the phone. I don't remember it all, but one thing I will never forget is when Dad told us.

"He (you) have the best siblings ever. He couldn't have had more loving siblings, and he (you) loves you all very much." I was very touched, but the tears didn't fall. It's unexplainable the feelings I felt. But something in me froze. Broke. It was like someone took a piece of my heart. And never were they to return it. It was gone. Part of me was dead.

I can't really explain the feelings we had, because we were in too much shock to say anything. We couldn't grasp what had just happened. Our brother was gone. Not gone for a while, or a few days, or weeks, or months, or years. But gone for forever. Gone ... never to return again. You would never skip around the house, laugh, tell jokes, beg us for toys... never. Nothing like that would ever happen again. In just a few short hours our lives were ruined. Destroyed. Everything we loved and cherished about life was gone in just one moment.

As soon as we could, we spread the news to our family and friends. Everyone knew in the matter of time. It caught everyone off guard. You were fifteen. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. You were not allowed to die! This was not in our plans. Not in our book. This wasn't supposed to be a chapter in our life. There was still so many pages and chapters to finish, but it ended. All too soon, it was over. We finished the book without wanting to, or even realizing it. It was all to much of a shock to grasp and understand it. It still is.

We had the funeral that following week. I was only ten, and was unsure of how to approach people when they offered their sympathy. It was all too unreal to me that it actually happened. I wanted to believe that it was just a bad nightmare and I was going to wake up and it was going to be over. But, of course, that never happened. Reality didn't hit in, until they began to lower you into the ground. I remember my exact thoughts and actions then. I began to shake my head. Internally I began to cry: "No! No! You can't do that! That's my brother!" But I couldn't stop it. It was what it was. I buried my face in my hands, turned away and just cried. It was the first time I cried since you died, and I couldn't stop myself. I just stood there crying. It suddenly all became real to me.

It was all so hard for my ten year old self to understand and grasp what was going on. But there was one thing I knew for certain. It was over. You were gone. My life would never be the same again. Never could it be the same. It was time for me to face reality. To face life as it is. That death is something that happens. Happens to everyone. Old or young. Deaf or blind. Weak or strong. Innocent or not. It happens to everyone. No one can get out of it. No one can live life without facing death. It's just the way it is. Nothing can be changed.

Oh, it is just so unreal. I still now, sitting here writing, can't understand. Why? You were perfect in every sense of the word and yet why did this happen to you? What happened that made us deserve all this pain and suffering? This heartache that never really heals. Why did it happen to us? I know that it is not my place to question, but I can't help it. I want to know the answer. It can be so difficult at times to accept what has happened, happened for the best. It can be almost impossible to accept... and as to understanding, that is above me.

Sitting here I remember a song that us girls listened to constantly the month you died. We would blare it on the iPod and sing at the top of our lungs to it. It calmed us. It was easier to cope with your death by singing. After you died was when I first fell in love with music. The powerful message behind music is just breathtaking.

Sometimes when the hurt is unbearable, I like to dream of happier times. Like the day that I will finally see you again in your heavenly glory. When you are standing there with your hand stretched out for a hearty handshake and with your pleasant welcome: "Hi! Nice to meet you!" It is then and only then that all the questions I've written in past blogs, (Update. Finally!Happy New Year, Theodore!, and The Best Brother... EVER!), will be answered. And it is then that I will be completely happy that it happened the way it did. And I will wish that nothing changes.... That is what I like to dream when my heart aches so badly to just one more time hear your voice. The sound of your laughter. To hear you skip about the house talking to yourself. To hear you tell a joke, that isn't really funny. Just one more time. For just once... maybe only for a minute to see you. I know that you are happy, far happier than you ever could be here on earth, but what about me? Are the ones left behind left in sorrow and misery and pain and suffering? You defiantly got the better end of the deal here! But, I know that this'll make me stronger. And with the help of your loving, guiding and protective brotherly arm you will help me! You're not really gone. It's just that temporally we are separated. But this temporally can last for a long time and can be very difficult. So, when the road gets rough ahead, promise me Theodore, that you'll always be there to guide me in the right way. Never will you leave my side. And never, ever will I forget the day that Heaven gained another saint.

I love you tremendously. And miss you more than words can say!

Until we meet again, I remain your ever longing sister,

P.S. I am so sorry this is so long, but I just miss you so much. And I can't talk to you directly, I can't see your beautiful face, all I have is my love for writing to tell you what I wish I could tell you face-to-face. But that is not how it is. I must move on. I must be strong. Move on. And accept. I love you! Never will I forget all that you have given to me! And nothing can ever really separate us! We're together as brother and sister. Forever and Always!

St. Theodore Gerard Francis... Pray for us!!!