I was lying on the floor in a fetal position, one arm outstretched. I wasn’t sure how or why I had gotten there. It was the buzzing of the phone that snapped me back to reality. You know the sound the phone makes when it’s been off the hook too long.
On all fours, I crawled across the room where the phone lay, picked it up and clicked the end button. I slumped back down, staring off into the corner of the room. I don’t know how long I lay there, hours maybe? And then… the phone rang. Suddenly I remembered how I’d come to find myself lying on the living room floor, and why the phone was across the room buzzing.
“Hello?” I answered into the phone.
“Are you okay”?
I burst into tears.
Sometime earlier that day, my sister had phoned, she was sobbing. My first instinct was that something had happened to our mother. But nothing could have prepared me for the words she spoke.
“I’m so sorry to be the one telling you this… Frank passed away last night.”
A blood curdling scream escaped me… I threw the phone across the room and fell to the floor.
Frank was my baby brother, that’s what I always called him. We were only a year apart. I was older, he was bigger.
He saved my life once, literally. When I hadn’t reported to work, my boss called my brother who came to check on me. He found me, burring up with a fever and rushed me to the hospital where I was later diagnosed with Spinal Meningitis. The doctor told him if he hadn’t found me when he did, I would have died as a result. He was my hero. That was my new nickname for him.
We were always close, being only a year apart. But from that day on, we were joined at the hip. We grew up, married, had children and life went on. But we stayed close.
I stop sobbing and answered the voice on the other end of the phone.
“Yes, I’m okay. How is mom taking it”? I asked.
“I haven’t told her yet. I was hoping you would come over and help me”.
I heard someone walking on the porch, and I was suddenly aware that while my life just collapsed around me, the rest of the world was still moving. Suddenly I realized my sister needed me, suddenly I realized the devastating news my parents were about to receive, and suddenly I realized my youngest son had just returned home from school. I jumped to my feet, trying to act normal, trying to hide that I was near insanity.
I opened the door and walked onto the porch. I saw my beautiful son standing there, yelling out to his friend,
“I’ll be out after I finish my homework”!
It was a beautiful September day. In Ohio, those days were numbered as we entered into the cold Midwest winter season. I took a deep breath and released a long sigh. I headed back into the house when a gush of wind on a windless day literally pushed me right through the door.
“Frank is that you”?
I knew it, it just had to be my brother. I knew he wouldn’t leave me. It was a crazy, but realreaction. And suddenly, I realized the fear he must feeling at that very moment. Suddenly, I realized he was lost… and in the afterlife.
My son, 15 at the time, looked up from his school work at asked me who I was talking to.
“No one,” I replied. “Gather up your school work, we’re going to go see grandma.”
As we drove down the long country road, I began to look for my hero in everything: the trees, the sky, and the birds. And it was at that time, the radio caught my attention.
“Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I’ll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Don’t cry for me down here”.
I pulled over, threw the car in park, jumped out and ran into the empty cornfield. All the while screaming “Nooooooooooo, oh God Noooooooooooooooo.”
I was certain that my son, looking though the car window, thought I’d lost my mind.
At age 29, a mother of two under 8 and pregnant with my youngest son, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. My son was my miracle and again my brother was my hero. My husband worked a lot. He had one of those demanding jobs that kept him away from home most of the time. It was my brother that took care of me, nursed me, fed me, held my hair while I vomited endlessly and cared for my children daily until I could resume the position of “healthy mom”. So you see, he truly was my hero.
It’s been five long years since that devastating September day. And, I knew he was still with me, watching over me, taking care of me as an angel now. Not long ago, he came to me in my dreams. He left me a beautiful message. The message was, “I’m okay”. And suddenly I felt happiness again.
Last month, as I drove down that same country road, I felt his presence. And that’s when it hit me. He was waiting on me to tell him I’m okay.
“Frank, I probably didn’t tell you often enough: I love you! I miss you! You are and always have been my hero!
Don’t worry about me, I’m doing okay. I still miss you, I still cry for you, but I’m okay.
Your daughter is growing into a beautiful young lady. You would be so proud.
I’m sorry I missed your phone call the night before you passed.
It’s okay Frank, really I’m fine. Go lay beside a lion, run your fingers though his mane, go find out what it’s like to ride a drop of rain.
I’m not saying goodbye, I’ll see you again someday; don’t take this wrong, but hopefully later then sooner. You know my babies still need me. And as much as I miss my hero, I’m not quite ready to see those pearly gates.
Until then, God has called you home. Someone out there somewhere needs you to be their hero. I’m okay brother.
I’ll be seeing you.”