Happy New Year to everyone. It has been a year that I cannot forget, although at times, I wish that I could forget it. Have fun tonight. Ear, drink, be merry, and enjoy the time with your friends and family. May the new year treat you well.
It was a year ago on Christmas that my grandmother died. She had been fighting Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Her death hit my family hard, because she was the center of my extended family. Plus, with Kim and Madison dying this year, it was really hard to get in the christmas spirit. However, when I saw my niece and my nephew tear into their christmas presents, it made my holiday.
On a completely unrelated note, I have decided to continue working as a public defender. The only explaination I can give is that this is my life; this is what I have chosen to do.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for having a career that I love. I am thankful that I am blessed to have friends both near and far that care for me. I am thankful that I have a promise that I will see the ones that I have lost this year again. Also, if to state the obvious, I am thankful to be alive.
Saturday night was the first time that I can remember where my older brother, my younger sister, and myself went out drinking. Also, it is the first time that my brother has been out since his wife and his younger daughter were killed in a car wreck. Although it was nice to spend time with the people that mean the most to me, it was sad that it took a tragic event in our lives to have it happen.
On a much lighter note, my team, my school, UGA kicked Auburn’s ass, 26-7, and I am not sick anymore.
I would be lying if I said my life was getting back to normal. There are days when all I want to is cry and hide in my room. There are days that I am consumed with rage and hate for everybody. There are days that I just feel numb. However, I am getting better. I am able to function. I am able to laugh. I am able to do my job. I am able to pick up the pieces and live again. Plus, Rerun died. The world is darker and colder place.
Since I passed the bar and became an attorney, I have done nothing but, criminal defense. To be more exact, I have been a public defender. I represent people charged with a criminal offense that cannot afford an attorney of their own. I am reasonably good at it. I had a jury acquit a client of mine of aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit kidnapping in fifteen minutes. I enjoyed my chosen profession. I knew that I was not taking the path to financial success; I knew my chosen path would not be easy; however, I knew what price I had to pay to do this type of work, and I was willing to pay that price. For almost three years, I enjoyed what I did. I loved representing people that society had given up on or did not give a damn about. For a time, the stories from my practice made my life almost interesting.
I lost my sister-in-law and my baby niece over three weeks ago. The driver of the other car is someone that is not that much different from the people that I currently represent. Since that day, there is no more joy in what I do. No longer do I have the ability to be long-suffering; no longer do I have the patience to listen to clients complain about their lot in life; no longer do I have the heart to care for people that society has either given up on or tossed aside.
The last four and half days have been an utter nightmare. My sister-in-law, Kim was killed in an automobile accident on Saturday, September 13, 2003. That night, I had to see my baby niece in a hospital hooked up to so many tubes that she looks like she should be in a Borg incubation chamber. Then, I learned that she was brain dead. After my remaining niece and nephew had their chance to say good-bye to their baby sister, my sister, her husband and I took them home to our house. Later that same Saturday night, my older brother faced with the grim reality that his little baby girl was not coming back to him, decided to have Madison taken off life support. He held her in his arms one last time as she left this life.
I kept my other niece and nephew for most of the day on Sunday. I went to the local Wal-Mart Super Center to get some groceries. A close friend, Bob called me on my cell-phone. We had planned to go to Las Vegas this week to hang out with some mutual friends. As you can guess, I had to bow out. It was surreal talking to Bob about what had happened while standing in the coffee aisle with tens of people walking by. It is hard to console a child about the loss of their mother and their baby sister, especially when you are on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
I saw Kim and Madison for the first time together on Monday night at the funeral home. Neither Kim nor Madison looked real. Madison looked like a life-size baby doll. Kim looked like a mannequin from a department store. I cried like a child. No, I wept. I did not cry that hard even when my own grandmother died on Christmas last year. The only rational explanation I can give is following: My grandmother had been ill for many years, and she had been in a nursing home since 1996; I had an opportunity to make my peace with her passing. A piece of human debris violently took Kim and Maddie from my family. There was no rhyme to reason for their deaths.
If that was not enough, on Tuesday, I had to help my dad retrieve any personal effects from my sister-in-law’s car. I had seen the damage to the car on the local television news, but seeing in reality was far worse. The accident crushed the motor like a tin can that is to be recycled. Either the emergency crews or the accident ripped the roof of the car off. There was glass through out the car. I found shredded pieces of clothing that belonged to my baby niece in the car. The sight of my sister-in-law’s car moved my Dad, a US Marine, a Vietnam Veteran almost to tears; I had not seen my Dad cry since my Grandfather’s death in 1988. Looking at that car, I felt like someone had ripped out my heart from my chest. There was a pronounced void in my being.
When we got back to the funeral home, my brother wanted to know if he should go see the car. I told him “No.” Although it was a one-word answer, when our eyes met, my brother could see how the sight of Kim’s car had emotionally devastated me. He started to weep, and so did I. Finally, today was the funeral. I do not want to tell what happened today right now because it is too personal to my family and me. Kim and Madison enriched my life. Words cannot describe how much I loved them and how much I will miss them. I believe that I will see them again. Therefore, the question is not if I will see them again, but when. That gives me hope, and some measure of peace.