It’s hard to believe a year has passed already! Last year at this EXACT time I was rushing home from work to be with my mom, (my only living sibling) brother, and my niece after receiving the call, “Robbie’s dead! Robbie’s dead! He hung himself. The police are on their way but grandma isn’t doing very well; she’s laying on him crying, screaming. GET HERE NOW!” It was a very long drive home as I work an hour away but sadly, I asked to be driven slowly. Sounds selfish on the surface but in MY reality, after losing a sister I KNEW nothing was going to bring him back – and I feared my mom’s immediate health as I had NO idea how she was going to move forward this her SECOND child to die in a matter only a few years! Factor-in HOW my brother CHOSE to die … I was PETRIFIED to see my mom! (tis selfish selfish selfish!)
When we arrived at her home the EMTs were still there awaiting the coroner, as well as my brother’s church’s minister and his wife who were consoling my mom. They are all still faded yet seared memories but I remember when I walked him I saw people all around my mom. Nice people — policeman, I think … maybe they weren’t … I truly cannot recall other than I KNOW they were there from the ‘911’ call placed. My mom was very calm (compliments of her meds) when I arrived — shocked me! I remember those people parting the way asking if I was Robbie’s wife or are you ‘the’ daughter? Of course I knew what that meant as I’m the only one left so I replied, “the daughter”. So they parted the ‘red sea’ that lead to my mom so I could comfort her. We cried and I remember cupping her face with my hands while begging her to remember me and my other brother, Brad, and how we don’t deserve to lose our mom because the other two other children gave-up on life! She nodded in agreement but I knew her ’emotional roller coaster’ was just about to start-up again (as she’d just semi-recovered from [accepting the] losing of my sister, our family’s oldest) – so I started to ‘prepare’ myself for letting HER go too!
Tis a VERY sad feeling trying to convince yourself to try and not care as much about people and I found it impossible with my mom so I fought FOR her! She tried to give-up, oh don’t you think she didn’t BUT she promised me a promise when I was only a little kid (w/very good fore-sight). I asked her, “mom one day if Robbie were to die, you MUST remember that you still have me to live for and I don’t want him to be the death of you TOO; so promise me you’ll NOT die with him! PROMISE ME MOM!” She did so when I was approaching that chair as everyone was parting to let me near here that was the first thing I reminded her of that promise we made a DECADES ago and she simply nodded as I laid my head in her lap and we cried with the crowd surrounding us!
I was able to see my brother one last time a year ago today, oh and just about this exact minute too – sigh! I didn’t want to see him on the ground or see the cord so I waited for the coroner to arrive. At that time, his body was placed in a black bag and placed up on a stretcher. I remember the policeman asking me to wait one more minute as he dashed-out into the garage and then came back to give me the ok. With my husband by my side, I mustered up the courage to go out and see him, well what he left behind, I mean. I remember only seeing his head. That’s when the policeman told me he didn’t want me to see the marks around Robbie’s neck so he had made sure the black bag’s zipper was all the way up to my brother’s chin. I remember telling him good-bye, telling him I forgive him for ALL of the things in the past, and I remember laying my head on his chest for that VERY last time!
His body was cremated and his memorial held a few weeks later. During that time we discovered my elderly mom had broken her back trying to hold him up alongside my niece as my other brother had to use a SAW to cut the VERY thick cord he chose. Her health PLUMMETED! She started to refuse to eat. She refused to get out of the bed most days. And even though we had made that promise, my being a parent now caused me to rethink how SELFISH that was of me to ask her to stay on my account. I COULD NOT IMAGINE LIVING THROUGH THE DEATH OF ONE OF MY CHILDREN – YET HERE I WAS ASKING, NO EXPECTING, HER TO … NOT ONE, BUT TWO NOW?! So I took the time to nurture her and I told her that whatever it may be, I’ll be ok. BUT she wasn’t convinced and I believe it’s the pain she saw in my eyes, not the ‘serious’ look on my face, she saw as she started to ‘try’. She moved-in with us — we created a ‘makeshift’ bedroom for her downstairs (she cannot do stairs anymore) with the understanding that it was HER choice where to lie her head down at night. I felt it would give her some sort of empowerment over a helpless situation being able to choose WHERE you want to ‘call home’ that day — remember, he committed suicide in the home she was living as well as she need care, I mean loving & doting, unselfish CARE!
And, now a year has passed and we’re intact … my once large family literally cut-in-half. Unsure if we’ll have another year as I don’t take ANY life for granted anymore. And although I never sought counselling after my sister and maybe I should have; however, I did learn from her passing that dead is dead and NOTHING BRINGS THEM BACK plus the ONLY true friend you have in death is TIME! I let father ‘TIME’ tend to my needs. So yep when that frantic call came about my brother passing, I wasn’t prepared but I felt that it wasn’t my first ‘rodeo’ anymore and (sadly) that gave ME power! Yet a year has flown by so fast already and here I lay, in tears … SCARED to call my mommy as I hope she slept through it this morning!
Somehow I always knew I’d be the rock! I must thank God for placing ME on this earth to hold my mommy up and help her move forward! It PAINS my heart to see her every time I visit with her (tis true, but I hide it well). She’s buried her husband, her first and now second born! How AWFUL!
So today is my ‘brother’s’ day …. eventually, as time is my friend, I know that one day this day we will remember only the GOOD things about him! How he laughed, loved to tease, and tell jokes. And, how I never met a more gifted mechanic and carpenter – if he didn’t know how, he figured it out! How he’s two beautiful daughters, still trying to make sense of it all (and one isn’t doing very well – please keep her in your prayers!), and their children within whom he lives on! I haven’t a choice you see because as I penned, dead is dead!
I miss you, Robbie! I hope God opened-up his gates and let you see your dad, sister and you’ve been there to welcome those we’ve lost this past year as well! AND, I hope God is allowing you to go and ‘make amends’ by watching over your daughters (as they need him desperately!)! I will ALWAYS love you, Robbie! I hope you’re resting-in-peace, I TRULY do!
Robert Frederick Kolvet, Jr.
1/25/61 – 9/1/11
This WAS my family 3-months after we lost our dad (fall, 1970)
Handsome heart-breaker Robbie & his contagious smile!
Robbie’s beautiful first born, Krystal!
Robbie’s beautiful baby girl, Katie!
All of Robbie’s grandchildren – his legacies!
Your last-surviving sister misses you awful as does your LOVING mom, your brothers, your niece, your nephews, your beautiful two daughters, and most importantly, your six grandchildren!
Until we meet again I shall hold your memory near! *tears*
HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR LOVED ONES TODAY?*