This post is not for sympathy. Next month will be 30 years since it took place. I have found peace with it all after wrestling with countless thoughts and questions about it. Here I will briefly share what I remember happening, SOME of the questions I had and why I am at peace.
He taught me how to climb the kitchen counters to get our cereal in the morning. He helped me learn how to eat while sitting on the dining room carpet without spilling my milk. He even helped me figure out how to successfully throw goose eggs across the barn without getting bit.
The last thing I remember my brother, Larry, doing for me was pulling my wagon behind his bike. It may have only been for a minute, maybe more, but I know I had fun. I was mad when he undid the rope connecting my wagon to his bike. Larry was allowed to ride across the highway to take care of his calf. I wasn’t allowed to go, and I was pretty perturbed as I watched big brother go do what only he could.
Then IT happened.
The car flew by, and I didn’t see Larry anymore. I didn’t hear anything, and I didn’t run to get help. I was four years old. I do remember going from angry to scared instantly. For some reason, I had the feeling I was in trouble. I walked into the house and went into my mother’s bedroom and watched her while she napped. I didn’t wake her. I just watched until I heard knocking at the door. The next thing I remember was Dad throwing me into the truck as we raced to the road.
Dad cradled Little Larry, asking him repeatedly if he could hear him. I saw that Larry was very still, very quiet, and it was strange seeing blood run down from his left ear. I didn’t know what to make of things, and it is all a blur after that. Come to find out, Larry didn’t die in the ditch. He either passed while in the ambulance or soon after arriving at the hospital.
The have had many questions for God over the years surrounding this event:
Would my parents’ marriage have been better?
Would my mom have gone further down a self-destructive path in grief and pain, never to return?
Would my Dad have been a little happier?
At the same time, I am glad Larry didn’t see how life turned out for Mom and Dad (though, Dad did eventually clean up and things have gotten better for him ~ he rocks and is one of my heroes).
At the same time, I am glad that Larry didn’t have to see and hear the same things I did through the years that ripped my heart in two.
At the same time, I am glad Larry didn’t have to live life suffering from his muscular dystrophy.
The diagnosis was confirmed the week of his death, so Dad says. Larry had been hurting for a while, and Dad sold calves to pay medical bills. When the results were received, Dad didn’t know how he could take care of his boy. How could he afford to help his son stop hurting?
I have no clue what my parents prayed for that week. I seriously doubt the last thing they prayed for was to have his life end. I bet they prayed for everything but that.
At least my brother’s suffering ceased that week.
But, my parents’ pain catapulted. They were hurting people in a broken world, trying to fill a void that could never be filled. Oh, how I wish God could have helped them love each other again. I wish they could have enjoyed some peace at that time, but that was not the road they travelled.
I will never know why Larry had to die that day (assuming there was a greater plan at work beyond an accident). I will never know if things would have been better, or worse. I know other children are left starving to death every day, while others suffer with the pain of their diseases and treatments. I feel weird thinking that God showed his love by taking my brother from all his hurt while millions cry out in anguish.
Life can hurt, no matter how you look at it. When I think about Larry’s last day, I do take some comfort knowing at least he didn’t have to suffer anymore. I don’t know if that is why his life ended that day. If it was merely an accident, it wouldn’t change why I have peace about it today. I believe if there is a heaven and rest beyond, Larry is getting to enjoy time with my mom that he never had before. I believe my mom is finally at peace with her demons so she can relish every moment with her son.
I have been angry about my brother’s death.
I have demanded answers from God.
I blamed his death for making things worse.
Now, I just thank God my brother is at peace. That is something I can live with, and still love my God as good. I AM glad Mom and Larry have each other in a way far beyond the troubles of this life. That, my friends, is very good. I rely on that while I don’t have a clue about some of the other stuff.