Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fly Bye

I was 5. It was so early it was still dark and I was awakened quietly to say goodbye. Groggy,  I stood on the bed and reached my arms out. All was darkness. I could not see you, but I felt the rough fabric of the uniform beneath my hands and the warmth of your cheek. Your hair no longer sweeping my face as you bent for a kiss but shorn beneath a cap. The low rumble of your voice beside my ear....I love you, goodbye. I carried this in my minds eye waiting patiently as was wished, until you were safely home.

I was 9. Suddenly you were Home! And you picked up where you left off.....being my hero.

I was 24. I fully understood the problem and was saddened and helpless about it. I was used to the drinking but now sometimes your eyes were lifeless. I stop by. You are laying on the couch. You are cold and clammy and sweating profusely. I say "whatever you are doing stop it". Please. Just stop. I kiss you goodbye. Whatever it was seemed to stop and the you  that had a soul came back but the drinking never stopped. The damage to your body from the years of alcohol was done.

I was 30. When the call comes in the middle of the night, just by chance I am not at home but out of town and actually closer to where you are than the rest of us. I would get there first, I would be there.  As we drove through the dark I prayed, in time, in time, please.

As I was walking in a cloud of unreality, through the front doors,  you were leaving. They would not let me go farther. I stood there, waiting patiently as they wished. And moments later they said, "we're sorry, we're sorry, no."
 And you were alone. I could not reach could this be?

As we drove away that morning the sun was rising over fields of green going gold. The light rising in tandem with our forward journey.  I saw the rays light up their wings like sparks shooting upward as they circled and soared and I smiled. At that moment I heard the first notes of the song burst through to me and I reached to turn the knob up until it engulfed me, carrying me with it for awhile and opened the window to fly along  through the morning because I knew...
God had allowed you to pause and soar just long enough
To say goodbye.

Google Video

The lyrics to this song were so appropriate to my brother and the situation that I am still stunned by this experience and it is the single most painful but powerfully spiritual moment of my life.

my brother
There for me
All of the things
Big brothers should be
Johnny my brother
Ten feet tall
Or so it seemed
When I was small
Dec 1954-July 1996

My brother loved nature and had great admiration for birds.  He was very quiet and none of us ever really understood why he was the way he was. He was different. He did not seem cut out for this world.
        He made terrible mistakes. He was an alcoholic from his teens.
We loved him.                 

 © 2010 All Rights Reserved

Learning To Fly
By David Gilmore for Pink Floyd

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction holding me fast, how
Can I escape this irresistible grasp?
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted Just an earth-bound misfit, I
Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to guide my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone
A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I
Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, A state of bliss
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I


  1. I can't even imagine how painful it must have been to see that happening, and not being able to stop it. I'm so sorry. I'd like to think he's free now.

  2. You have written so very eloquently and poetically about your brother. You cannot change other people, only yourself are the words springing to my mind. Yes, you can try and help but if the person you are trying to help will not for some reason or cannot allow you to then that is terribly hard on those around them who love and care for them.

  3. So beautifully written and terribly sad. I'm sorry for your family's loss but how wonderful that you experienced that beautiful, spiritual moment.

  4. Oh my darling, what a beautiful post about your cherished

  5. Beautiful remembrance of your brother.

  6. wonderful tribute to your brother. peace.

  7. I'm so sorry. This was a great way to give hime tribute.

  8. I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother. It is so hard to watch the ones we love destroy themselves...Peace to you this day.

  9. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  10. MOTPG: you're right, seeing this happen changed you forever. I can feel the pain and heaviness in your heart from here.

    I love him b/c you loved him.

    Such inner demons, what do they try to drown out? I'll email you later.

    I'm so sad for your heart.

  11. So sorry that you lost your big brother in that way. I can't even imagine. Beautiful, beautiful post. And you have touched on something so scary to me as a mother. Why did he struggle like that? What takes one person down that road and not another? That experience must have made you all the more worried for biggest a few years ago... you have such strength as a writer and a person though. I'm glad you share this deep stuff, along with all the rest.

    Oh, and on a lighter note... It's like you've crawled into the playlist in my brain whenever you post about music. You and me were scratched out of the same vinyl, girl ;-)

  12. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. You wrote so poetically about all the grief and emotions that come with losing someone we love to alcoholism. I cried when I read about you rushing to see him at the end and not being able to get close to say goodbye. Thank you for giving voice to a pain that is so difficult to describe. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Sending you the biggest virtual hug in cyberspace.

  13. So sorry you have had to undergo this. You have written such a wonderful post as a tribute to your brother.


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