Fifteen years ago, on this day, I lost a piece of my heart. What's left of it still aches and I can't help but cry as I type this. I lost my cousin, my friend, my classmate, a person that was a part of my entire life. I lost Bobby.
I guess, no one can really know how a person feels. I think what adds to the pain is knowing that my Aunt Betty lost her son. My cousins lost their brother. My Aunts and Uncles lost their nephew. Bobby was loved by everyone.
I felt sort of out of place when I was there, at the hospital, moments after he had passed. I don't remember anymore who called to tell me, or how I had even gotten there. I remember wanting to be there for Aunt Betty and I wanted to see Bobby just one more time. This time, I'm sure he would understand my crying. I used to have to try soooo hard not to cry in front of him when I did go to visit him in the hospital. I think he understood just how hard that was for me. I was always the "over-emotional" one in the family. It didn't just bother me that he was in the hospital dying, it bothered me that he was in the hospital and not at home with his family. I told him that he could've been in there because of something as simple as a stubbed toe (of course, I know that's not a reason for hospitalization, just tried to make my point) and I would still cry. I never did like hospitals.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about Bobby. Little reminders of him pop into my head at various times of the day. I see anything with Spiderman on it, and he comes to mind. He had a pet spider and was nicknamed, "Spiderman" because of her. Even spiders in the house are given a second chance at life if we find them. It's because of Bobby that we capture them and release them outside rather than kill them.
When I bake molasses crumb cake or cupcakes, I think of him. I used to bake them for him. He loved them. I'm not sure what medication did it to him, but when he had trouble "going", I baked some for him and they helped him "go".
Butterflies. The day of Bobby's burial, there was a butterfly hovering around the pastor as he spoke. A few times, the pastor even waved his hand to get it to move. It fluttered around us all as we stood there. That little butterfly, to me, was Bobby. Hovering around us to let us know that he was in heaven and he was alright. He would never want us to be sad and I think he sent that butterfly to let us know. That little butterfly inspired me to write poems and has helped me as I later experienced more losses. It was included on my grandmother's funeral bulletin some years later.
Today, so much has changed since Bobby had to go. I often wonder what he would think about how far the internet has come. He was one of the first to use the internet in our family. A far cry from what it is today. I'm sure he would have the latest video games too. He was the one that introduced us to Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo. We still have yet to conquer it and we miss his little secrets to get through some of the tough levels. He never did get to play DK2 or DK3.
I wonder, too, if Bobby got to meet Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)? Bobby LOVED the Grateful Dead and just about 2 months after Bobby passed, so did Jerry. I like to think that they did meet.
This past Wednesday, I went to the CCEEC. Just like any other time that I walk through the front door, I have to somewhat "prepare" myself, but still, it hits me. A burst of emotion goes through me. The first thing you see when you walk through the front door is a plaque with Bobby's picture on it. He worked there for a bit before he got sick. "Hiking Bob" is what they called him. He loved the outdoors and wildlife.
Of course, too, I can't help but think of Bobby when I listen to Kenny Chesney. I doubt, at that time, that Bobby had even heard of him. Kenny's song, "Who You'd Be Today" says just about everthing that I think about and wonder about when I think of Bobby.
I can't pin-point just one thing or another that I miss about my cousin. I miss everything. I miss his jokes, playing cards with him, his intellegence, his funny stories, his smile. I miss his voice, his ways, his love that he had for all things. I miss everything about him.
I wonder what he would look like today? What would he be doing? What new things would bring him joy. What would he excell at? What kind of car would he drive? (I'd hope he would've switched over to being a Chevy man, rather than Dodge ;) and of course I would tease with him if he didn't.)
So, here I am today missing him just as much as I did back then. I am so grateful to have had him in my life as long as I did. I just wish he could've stayed longer and wouldn't have had to go through what he did to get to heaven. I'm not sure I could've handled it as well as he did, or could've put on a smile through the pain like he did to keep us from hurting for him. I know he wouldn't want us to be sad, but I'm sure he would've felt the same way about any of us if we had to endure what he did.
I miss you. You were the first to learn of my pregnancy but you had to go before Bradley was born. (Yes, another boy.) I gave him the middle name, "Robert", for a few reasons, and you are one of them. Dennis and I tried for a girl and we had 2 more boys, twins. Trevor still remembers you, and Bradley, Corey and Collin never met you, but they "know" you. I tell them about you often. I'm sure they would've loved you just as much as you would've loved them.
I can't wait for the day that I will see you again. I can't wait to hear one of your jokes or to just reminisce with you. We've got so much catching up to do!
Until then, I keep you and your memories in my heart and I take comfort in knowing that you are suffering no more.
Your favorite cousin,