That's when it happened. The home phone rang. I rarely get calls on the home phone. It's usually either my parents or a solicitor. Being that it was 4:30 p.m., my parents don't usually call at that time, so I figured solicitor. But I went and got it anyway and saw on the caller i.d. it was coming from my dad's line at the house. "I wonder why he is calling at 4:30 on a Wednesday, so soon after we just spent a weekend with each other," I thought, frowning, as I answer the phone.
My dad's voice came through on the line. He was on speaker phone. He told me that my mother was on the phone too (she said hello) and that they had some news. My stomach sank. This couldn't be good. He didn't say they had good news. Only that it was news, which is code for "bad news." I instantly had thoughts flash in my head of someone in the family dying, perhaps a cousin, aunt or uncle. Perhaps it wasn't a death, but an accident and someone was in a hospital. I was not ready for what came next.
I was told that my oldest brother had been in a car accident early in the morning and had passed away.
"No! That can't be right!" I said. I said that into the phone more than once, with my parents assuring me that it was and that it was real. They asked where my husband was and whether I wanted them to call him. I told them he was in a meeting and wouldn't answer his phone, even if it was them calling. They said they still had others to call and would talk to me more later. The call ended.
I burst into tears, screaming and crying. My two little ones looked at me. I got them into the car to pick up my other kids. As I was buckling my 1-year-old into her car seat, I screamed, "Why, Heavenly Father, why? Why now?" I couldn't stop the tears. I picked up my kids and told them why I was upset. They all screamed with upset too, some even cried a little.
They didn't know my brother very well. In the last decade, we have only seen him about once a year, sometimes less. The reunion we'd just had over the weekend was the first time I had seen him since Thanksgiving of 2012. It had been twenty months, nearly two years, since my husband, the kids, or I had seen him.
We came home, I called and called my husband's phone. Eventually he called me back to see what was going on, since I don't usually bother him during meetings. He came home right away when I told him.
I wanted to write all this down so I can accurately remember what happened and how I felt the day I found out my oldest brother had been killed in a car accident. It was the most horrifying, awful day of my life, second only to the day his ex-wife called me the previous April (2013) to tell me they were getting a divorce. I have cried so much in the two days since (has it really only been two days because it feels like normalcy was a lifetime ago) that my eyes are constantly hurting and my head and neck and throat hurt.
I alternate between calmness with acceptance of this change and downright, distraught, deep, deep heartache demonstrated with wrenching sobs and endless tears. I don't know how to handle this. I don't know what to think or to feel.
I know the rhetoric. I even believe it. It is comforting to have a knowledge of eternal families. It is comforting to know of Heavenly Father's merciful plan. It is helpful to recall all of the tender mercies that have been happening surrounding this tragic event.
It is still so very, very painful and I feel so very, very raw. I do appreciate people's suggestions for scriptures or hymns or temple visits or priesthood blessings. They are helpful and comforting. But they don't stop the pain. My heart aches deeply. I didn't know it could hurt this badly and not have an actual physical ailment. It is a constant, deep ache. My stomach is upset and I am having trouble eating. I can't sit still. My mind and its ramblings are ceaseless.
I will probably be talking more about this in future posts. I feel it will help me grieve, not only to write it down, but to share it.
I will miss my brother tremendously. I cannot believe that he is gone from this mortal existence.
This is my brother playing with one of our other nephews at our family reunion.
His little daughter (one of six kids) is the blondie right next to them.