I sit here today, on March 11th, 2011 and think back to what I was doing 10 years right now... at this exact time I was either at work, or headed there shortly... having just finished my sister's birthday party, as she would be leaving to go back to college almost an hour and a half away in a few short hours... the whole family was over just hanging out... I remember hanging out in her room, my cousin AD and I... laying on our bellies looking at a yearbook, just talking. Talking about how things were going for him at school his sophomore year... how he & his girlfriend had broken up a week earlier, but he thought that they were getting back together, maybe even that night... we talked (again) about how I was going to pay the additional fee to get his license plate personalized, just as soon as he decided what he wanted it to say... we talked, as we had many times before, of the tattoo I was going to buy him for his 18th birthday... just a year and a half away... we hung out, had fun, I hugged him tight as he left that afternoon... I remember thinking how my cute little cousin had grown... he had grown into a charming, handsome, respectful, wonderful, funny young man... and wondering how it happened so fast...
I remember later that night... somewhere around 10:30ish when I got out of work, thinking "hey, maybe I'll swing over and hang out with AD before heading home" and then dismissing the idea in favor of a little extra time at my boyfriend (now hub's) house with him... I remember it being close to midnight, knowing that I was going to be late for my midnight curfew and calling to tell my parents without getting an answer... I remember being confused, wondering where in the world they would be near midnight on a Sunday... and then the chiming of my cell phone as it rang, my dad on the other end, telling me that he & my mom were on their way to the hospital, because AD had been in an accident... my dad asking if I wanted them to come get me... I was shaking, asking questions, getting little in the way of answers... "who was with him? was he alone? what happened?" ... my phone rang again a few minutes later, my mom - asking for bf/Hubs... telling him they were already half-way there, could he bring me over instead?
I don't remember how, but my sister's best friend ended up riding over with us...or maybe she didn't... that's fuzzy to me... Hubs driving, L in the backseat?, me curled up & rocking in the passenger seat... crying. praying. Hubs telling me that AD was going to be fine... everything was going to be fine. We entered through the ER doors, and were directed to registration... I was half-running, blindly, terrified. At the registration desk we found my dad, with my aunt - she jumped up to hug me crying, shaking her head as I asked "where is he?" and hearing "he isn't here yet" I was stunned - "what do you mean he's not here yet? where WAS he?" and my dad... pulling me away, out of the registration area, toward the main entrance, as he hugged me and said "he didn't make it Rus" in my head I hear these words again... I hear the echoes of my screams of "no! no daddy! no!" I hear him telling Hubs "get her out of here!" he didn't want my aunt to hear me... standing outside in the cold were my mom, and her other sister - they were trying to reach my cousin, who attended the same college as my sister... K is three years older, and they thought it would be best if my sister heard the news in person... K & his girlfriend were already making plans to head over to get/tell my sister, then head for the hospital... on our way out, we passed my cousin AJ and his girlfriend's father - AD's big brother... he didn't know yet... I can only imagine what seeing us must have been like for him... terrifying possibly.
I remember the rest of the hospital time-period, hanging out in a waiting room, surrounded by family, even my dad's family came to sit with us as we waited for his body to arrive... finally being allowed in to see him, how pale and still he was - this 16 year old athlete, so full of life, love, laughter... still. cold. even through the devastation there were a few smiles - as AJ squeezed AD's arm and the reflex made his hand squeeze my sister's... she about shit herself... the smiles were few & far between over the next few days, and the tears many, but the stories we told... the stories people told at his memorial service - which had to be held in the high school gymnasium to fit all those attending... all of us cousins, and some aunts and uncles, wore jeans with Metal Band Tshirts... it was what he would have wanted... we watched VHS tapes of him playing his bass guitar to "Eye of The Tiger" during the visitations, and a slideshow of photos at the service...
his headstone carries his last school photo... that sophomore year... the graphics etched in the stone include a guitar, basketball, football, track shoes... the inscription, "son, brother, friend"... it was 10 years ago today that we lost one of the most special people to have ever walked the earth... the most beloved in our family, maybe even his school... he was just that special... he was four years younger than I, but he was my best friend... and the ache in my heart today, doesn't feel ten years old... it doesn't feel like it was ten years ago that my heart broke... it feels like it was yesterday.
loving and missing you so much today, as always AD. Rock In Peace.