Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Abandoned by God 4

I knew that the body in the casket had to be my brother. He didn't look like my brother, but it had to be him. The people in the funeral home wouldn't have led us into the wrong room. My mother, in tears, certainly had to recognize her own son. But, it didn't look like my brother. During his last days in the Veterans Hospital in Allen Park my brother's liver failed and jaundice quickly transformed the brother I knew into a body that was my brother in name only.

That event, interwoven with the past stress and tragedies brought me to a crisis of who I wanted to be, and what I seriously would believe in. In the following months my parents tried to recover a sense of balance and meet the needs of the family. My parents decided to buy a house with some of the insurance money from Tag's death. Beside the home, my dad bought the truck that he had been using, driving for Mario Trucking.

Thoughts of God and His purposes and plans were now distant memories and in fact, pushed to the back closet in my mind. Now, for most teenage boys, thinking of life's purposes is not high on their priority list. I certainly was no different, yet I knew in my conscious mind I didn't care what God thought about me or what I wanted to do. I had been drinking since I was twelve years old and continued whenever I had the money or the opportunity.

For a period of time my dad worked hard with the trucking business and things went well for a while. I am sure that my mom and dad tried their hardest to bring normalcy and good days to their children and to their own hearts. We went on our usual vacation to Northern Michigan. Camping out, we spent time swimming in Lake Huron and fishing in the Thunder Bay River. When the summer came to a close life seemed normal.

The Veterans Day that followed my brothers death was very hard. The Veterans Day Ceremony was held at Tag's graveside. The military grave marker was the center-piece of the ceremony. I am sure that none of us, the family, were ready or anticipating what was to happen. On command the rifles fired, again in perfect unison, the melancholy and subdued notes of Taps brought tears to mom and dad.

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