Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bill, My Brother

Bill died when he was 19 years old. He was in a car accident; while traveling home from Desert Hot Springs, in California, with his best friend and a hitch-hiking passenger.

I was a sixteen year old sophomore; a young girl who seriously idolized her so hip yet, down-to-earth friendly, always-had-time-for-me, artistically inclined, nice looking, wild-long-blond-haired brother.

I remember as a small child, Bill and I were one of the four youngest kids in our family that took day trips with our parents. Fun times, for sure. It wasn't until I was in high school, though, that I really began to realize what an impact Bill had on me; the way I saw myself and the potential of being someone special.

Insecurity ruled me during those it will get better years. I was so focused on worrying about how I was perceived by others that I forgot to just have fun. When I was a freshman, Bill was a senior. He warmed my heart, pushed my I'm an awesome person button, simply by acknowledging my presence as he was walking passed. He would literally stop - group of friends in tow - approach me, smile, say hi, and hug me before he continued his journey. Just that gave me confidence.

When two police officers walked up the drive, onto our unpaved, pebble-filled porch I was lounging on an aging, wooden, reclining-type outdoor chaise. Interesting, I thought. "What did one of my brothers do now?" I asked; jokingly. "Do you know Bill P.?" one of them asked me. My heart skipped a beat. "Yeah, he's my brother," I responded quietly. At this point I began wondering if maybe they should be talking to my parents, not me; a too-young girl that loved her brother more than he ever knew. "He was in a car accident. He was killed," the officer stated.

Did I hear right? My heart was beating so fast. I stumbled out of the chair, fell into the house and tried with all my might to scream; to alert my mom and dad that I needed them. "What is it?" my mom asked, or maybe it was my dad standing next to me. I don't remember. "There are some cops out there, saying Bill died," I choked out. Their eyes grew wide; yet they seemed confused. I opened the front door without a word, pushed them towards it.

Life was a blur for quite a while after that. School needed my attention but I couldn't even stay in my music class, to learn the graduation song for the upcoming graduates. It made me cry. I left the room. My brother, Kit, just watched me leave. I could see in his eyes he was hurting, too. The music teacher didn't object when I quietly left the classroom, tears in my eyes. I don't even remember what I did after that. Maybe I just left, walked the mile home. People were very kind, but I was so wrapped up in trying to figure out why?, why did Bill have to die?, that I didn't let them in; to console me.

I lost a very important person; someone who helped form the way I think, the way I am, today. Sadly, he never knew. All I can believe is that he watches me, sees I'm doing fine. He's everywhere; in some of the behaviors of my kids, especially in Roberto. He's in artwork I see framed around my world. He's in friendships I observe - the charisma that draws people to others; and in stories I read about brothers caring about sisters, sisters caring for brothers.

Here I sit, thinking about Bill, my brother. I am fortunate to have had someone very special in my life; someone who travels in my thoughts, reminding me to make the most of everything - take nothing for granted! Daily, I take the time to slow down, live in the moment, to observe my world, and appreciate the good things ... you never know what happens next.


  1. Paula Barrett WeidenbachOctober 30, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Bill was my highschool sweetheart. I miss him dearly and think about him upon occasion. My kids went to the highschool we went to... which would bring back memories of the locker we shared and the Sadie Hawkins dance we went to dressed alike in overalls. And of course I still have my yearbooks that he signed and poured his heart to me. What an amazing kid he was. And now I work in a salon that is next to the cemetary where he is buried. It's actually comforting ...I can leave work @ the end of a long, tiring day and whisper "hi Bill" with a smile:)

  2. I almost cannot breath reading this. I read it before and it nearly broke my heart. You describe him so beautifully, with such intense awareness. What a loss you must have felt, and still must feel.

    I am so so sorry for your loss.

    My brother has also passed away - he was a Bill too. Tragic.

    The last parahgraph of your post is so optimistic, so healing, so true.

    I wish you peace in your heart. And thank you for linking up to the Weekend Rewind. I am glad I had the opportunity to read this again, despite tears!

  3. I am so sorry that the world, and particularly your world is left without such a wonderful-sounding person.

    Coincidentally, my brother died too and sometimes I am left breathless thinking about how sad it is my children are without an uncle.

    I hope you continue to remember the great impact he had. And you're so right, we can't take anything for granted.