Thursday, March 16, 2006

I Love Him Too Much . . . And He’s Going to Be the Death of Me

No, I’m not talking about him, again.
I’m talking about my brother . . . again.

This morning my brother called me with horrible news:

T : You’re going to get a call from Seth today. Probably Zach, too.
Me: What’s up?
T: Cody’s phone rang at 6:30 this morning. Heidi died last night. She had three other people in the car with her. Apparently she took a curve at 130 mph and didn’t clear it. They slammed into a tree.
Me: OH MY GOD!!! What happened?????? Was she drunk??? High?????
T: I don’t know. That’s all they told us. I called mom, she’s looking into it.

Heidi is the younger sister of a friend of mine.
I’ve known her since she was wee.
She was a good girl.
Younger, I found out, than I remember.
I thought she was 4-5 years younger than myself.
Turns out she was only 18.

It also turns out that my brother wasn’t that well informed.
There were FIVE other people in the car with her.
Not three.
ALL of which are kids we know.
Kids whose families we’re friends with.
Hope is a small town.
You know everyone.
You’re close with a lot of them.

The story we’re hearing is this:
Heidi and the four other passengers (Heidi died on impact, the other four were airlifted to different hospitals - - all are in critical care) had gone to her boyfriend’s house to have a good time.
The boyfriend broke up with her.
Heidi made everyone leave with her.
Hurt, crying, outraged (all of this is speculation and conjecture from family and friends), she took it out on her car.

THIS is why I’m a horrible person.
Yes, I was upset about the loss of Heidi.
Yes, I was extremely worried about her family and friends, particularly Zach.
Yes, I was worried about the other passengers.

But my first thought was: It could have been my brother.
How is Zach going to cope?
I couldn’t.
If I lost T, I couldn’t go on.
I know it.
I just couldn’t.

And that brought on the tears.
Off and on all day.
I kept remembering times I had come close.

Junior year of college.
Mom calls in tears.
Mom doesn’t do tears.
She does do cryptic messages that make you think the worst.
She never starts with the good stuff.
“Your brother was run off the road by a drunk driver coming back from Rosston. The truck flipped four times at 50 miles per hour. The truck was destroyed.”
And she pauses and breaks down into sobs again.
I take that to mean that my brother is dead.
My mom doesn’t do tears.
I don’t even listen anymore.
I throw the phone down and run as hard as I can to DJ’s room.
Slam open the door, break down on the floor and the next thing I remember is DJ carrying me to his bed.
Sobbing in his arms.
I can’t even tell him what’s wrong.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t see.
I don’t want to breathe.

Mom calls DJ’s 10 minutes later.
She knew where to find me.
“Brittany, he’s fine. Listen to me. He’s fine. He doesn’t even have any cuts. He’s fine.”
I hate to admit that I cussed her out for 4 straight minutes.
Colorful words I didn’t even know I knew.
WHO does that shit????????????
Who doesn’t start with “Don’t freak out, everything’s fine, but . . . “

That wasn’t the first or the last time.
But it was the worst.

I’m thinking about Zach again.
Remembering how he and Heidi were.
They weren’t as close as T and I, but they had a special relationship.
I hope I can help him through it.
If he will let me.
I hope he finds comfort in his family.
In his friends.
In his fiancee.
But I can’t imagine his loss.
I can’t imagine anything comforting him.
I couldn’t be comforted.

So, these are the thoughts that overtake me all day.
One minute I’m fine, the next, I’m fighting back tears.

Finally, this evening, I can’t sit around and think about it anymore.
Work had been a distraction, but it was done.
The sweetest man in the world had plans with friends.
I didn’t want to burden my friends with something as insane as this.
My brother, who I needed to be around, was MIA.
So I went running.

I ran and ran and ran.
Making myself think of anything else.

I’m about to start what feels like my millionth mile when I see shadows coming behind me.
I assume they are other runners, so I move as close to the shoulder as I can to let them pass.
Then I feel a tug on my ponytail.
My ankle turns.
I start to fall.
Arms grab me on both sides.
And I think, “Great. I’m going to be accosted in the whitest most Suburban bullshit neighborhood on the planet. Every house has a SUV, 2.4 kids and a dog, but I’m going to manage to get raped and killed here.”
Hey, think about the week I’ve had.
Wouldn’t you have thought the same thing?
Then through my “Schism” by Tool I hear:
“Damn Britt, you almost ate pavement.”

My brother.
And Cody.
“What the buddha, T!”
Cody answers, “We went to your place to get you to run with us, but you weren’t there. T saw the MP3 player was gone so we figured you were running.”
“Then why aren’t you at the track?”
“We didn’t see you when we drove by, so we figured you were doing hills.”
Smart kids.

Is it bad that I wanted to tackle my brother and just hug him until he couldn’t breathe?
Actually, I wanted to tackle Cody, too.
He’s from Hope. He’s been T’s roommate for a year now, but they grew up together.
He’s like another brother.
I just want to take them both and put them in a bubble somewhere and keep them safe.
That’s if they promise to stop accosting me in the middle of my runs.
And trying to kill me with my ponytail.

But I’ll take being accosted by them over the news Zach got any day.
Yes, that makes me selfish and horrid.
But, I couldn’t live without my brudder.
I couldn't.
I just couldn't.
And I know it.


Ang said...

I understand!


Scorpy said...

Your brother is a very lucky man! You are not selfish...the first thought I always have with these tragedies is what did they do wrong...What did the driver do wrong and what could they have done differently to save everyone? Why did they act selfishly and take others lives, why did they deprive the other families of someone they loved. I have been to too many funerals of young people and they do not get any easier but I fear I have turned into someone that is not as compassionate as society would like me to be. This is a topic dear to me and whilst I feel for everyones loss I cannot get over the fact that they can be prevented. I also fear that my LLs could be in the car that the next one hits. We have to protect our young drivers...Sorry if I have ranted on a bit. Great post BTW (as usual)

Steph said...

Scary shit. I hate the "what if's". Things like this make your mind and heart go into overdrive. Be thankful that your brother wasn't in that car. That's not selfish. It's human.

meghansdiscontent said...

Ang - GIRL!!!! Thank heavens!!! I've been worried. Heck, we've been worried. SO glad you're here. And I'm sure you do understand!! When is the next time you get to see your brother??

Scorpy - I know how you feel. I felt like such a witch because I asked someone yesterday if a break up was worth all of that?? Why would anyone do that?? Particularly with other people with you??? Don't apologize for your rant . . I liked it! :) And thanks!

Steph - Chica, I am thankful. So thankful. But it still feels a little selfish.

Jenni said...

Those brothers of ours our special creatures. However I'd bet that if anyone needed to be put into a bubble to be kept safe, IT'S YOU!! And you know I mean that in the most harmless way possible.

mrshife said...

I don't think you are being selfish, just honest. And your brother is very lucky to have you in his life. Take care.

Coyote Mike said...

I got nothin, so you just get hugs from me.

Bone said...

I think most people tend to cling a little tighter to those that they love when they hear things like this.

I remember being out as a teenager and Mom would call me out of the blue and ask if I was OK. I'd say "Yeah, why?" Turns out she had seen a wreck or heard an ambulance and was making sure I was OK. Now, when I hear about a wreck, I'll sometimes call my Mom and sister to make sure they're OK.

angel, jr. said...

We must always remember to count our blessings. I know that it might be tacky, but I keep a journal in which I write daily/weekly blessings.
You aren't selfish, you are just thinking about what could have been. We all do that.

Drunken Chud said...

you know, i sat here thinking about it, and i think if my brother died, i'd be cool with it. lol. so just kidding. anyhow, glad to hear you got accosted though.

Laurie (aka buggy) said...

I don't have a brudder.

But I have a sister.

And the love I have for her is like yours for your brudder.

I would just not be able to find anymore air without her.

i said...

as i read this post.. all i could think of was how much it would gut me if i lost any of my sisters..