Friday, January 09, 2009
There's been an unwritten post flavoring my writing for several months and with the anniversary of my grandmother's death coming up, writing this post has been in my mind more and more. It's just a subject that I am not sure how to talk about and one that makes most people so uncomfortable to even have mentioned. The week before school started my cousin James Darren killed himself. I can come up with a myriad of reasons why he might have done it but it doesn't satisfy anything. I shouldn't even be calling him James Darren because he was always Bubba to us. He was 43 years old, divorced with three kids and had been struggling with drug addiction for quite a while. He also was just one of the nicest guys you could meet. He was the kid who always carried around the younger kids and babies and the one who always let you tag along even though you were an annoying girl. He taught me how to ride a horse, how to catch a baseball and turn it around so quickly that the catcher was caught off guard, helped me get up on water skis successfully for the first time, helped me with Algebra homework when he lived with my family for a while and gave me the heebie jeebies the past couple of years because he was such a walking shell of himself. Growing up, he looked like a younger version of my dad and was obviously my dad's favorite. By 40, he looked more like a thirty years older version of my Dad but was still my dad's fave. At family get-togethers, it was always a toss up as to whether Bubba was going to show up. Sometimes, he would come in with fresh pressed jeans and a ridiculously large cowboy hat that he favored or he would slink in after dinner, hanging around the side yard, nervously chain smoking. He made you nervous. Mostly because he was so ill at ease at times and you didn't know what to say to him. My dad would catch up with him though, and after falling into some huge discussion about this and that, you could visibly see the tension fall off Bubba's shoulders. When my aunt called my dad with the news, it really wasn't that shocking. I think the saddest part though is that maybe we all had seen it coming. We knew he was slowly killing himself, but just didn't expect this. My grandparent's deaths were so hard on all of us but I think they were very much a lifeline for Bubba. Their house sat empty for about 9 months and I know Bubba used to go hang out in the side garden and just sit in the swings. I wish he had waited for my parents to move in. I thought it would be strange having my parents there but it feels right. I know my grandmother would have very pleased with the way my dad is taking care of the gardens. I think Bubba would have found a place there. My dad would have welcomed his company. I wish he had just waited.