The Last Days Leading Up To When You Were No Longer Here

I wish I could remember those last days better. Because I had no idea of what was awaiting me, I did not take a detailed notice. I assumed that we would see each other again….that your marriage would get better…that it would somehow work out…..that any advice you sought from me on your last visit would make everything better.

It is February 19th. I don’t remember the exact date you came to see us in Alabama that last time but I know it was in February. I do remember how much weight you had lost. I could tell it in your face. It was a dramatic look since we had seen you at Christmas. I even complimented you and told you how good you looked. I thought it was because of the new kind of training you were doing in boxing. I do remember that….how stupid of me. Marital problems can take away a healthy appetite…like you always had.

We sat at the kitchen table and you and I talked about your marriage problems. (Thank you for coming to me Brandon, you always did.) She had a drinking problem (since before you married her, I think) and you wanted me to talk to her….and I did but in a round about way because I did not want her to be mad at you for having me talk to her. I told her of my childhood miseries because of an alcoholic father and how I felt about him my whole life because of it…thinking she would see herself and her own child in my story. I gave my faith in God all the credit for getting me through my ordeal. You approved beforehand of what I would share with her. It sounded like a plan…didn’t it, Son? I think you left feeling better about what the future would hold. I had even bought a workbook I saw at a flea market about how to make your marriage better and gave it to you before you left. It is now in the trunk that holds many of your belongings. I don’t know why I hold onto it…but then, I have not gotten rid of much if any…except that old ’78 LTD …please forgive me/us….we could not renovate it like you were planning to do… is gone now…it tore at me each time I looked at its rusting body sitting out near the open field at a house you have never seen…the house we moved to after you left…….like a monument to all that could have been but never was….the car is gone now…they came and paid us for the scrap metal it has now become….I could hardly wait for the tow truck to pull out from our drive so that my tears could be unleashed. Another loss…..

I wish I could remember more of that weekend. It was always the weekends because of our move to Alabama. I saw you countless times back out from under the carport on Sunday afternoons…always Sundays…..our departing hugs….goodbyes…flashbacks come and go….

In hindsight, I wish we had never selfishly followed our dream of having our own bed and breakfast. I think that maybe there would have been a chance that you would have come out to the house on Lakeview to talk…to get away because we would have been closer in miles….we would have been home….you could have come and stayed…but we were too far away from you…but who knows….you were gone in an instant…they say….but, what do I know? Who could I believe? Your drunk wife? Your not-so-best friend?” The damned investigator, Sherlock Grapone? The ‘fifteen year old’ coroner who giggles when she speaks? All these things, Brandon….they are unbearably too much but it is my life now. Answers…no answers…answers, no answers….shifting shadows that taunt with whispers of what we know, what we don’t know, what could have been, what is…..

I still have the drawing you gave me one of the last Christmases we had in Alabama. I can barely look at it…I don’t keep it out like I used to….a shadow picture of you, her and Natalie….Image



8 thoughts on “The Last Days Leading Up To When You Were No Longer Here

  1. That last picture by Brandon is hauntingly beautiful…

    Personally, I believe that my deceased beloveds have an inner view into my life–they know me, as they fully know The Lord. If they can have a fuller knowledge of GOD after transitioning–to me it seems logical, that they are capable of knowing what mere me-a mortal-am up to/where I live now, etc. 🙂

    After my family transitioned, I put up a collage of photos of them on a wall in my new apartment. I woke up in the middle of the night, having to use the restroom. There, in front of the collage was a large, luminous radiance that quickly disappeared…From that point on, I have believed “they know all about me in my current state”.

    Also, after my sister transitioned, I had trouble locating some paperwork regarding her death. I clearly heard her voice tell me..”Look over there!” And I did as “instructed”…and there was what I sought.

    I completely believe that Brandon knows full well, (had seen) your house and everything else going on in your life–because he is with God.

    I have also found that there seems almost a “reciprocal” aspect in the contact with my deceased loved ones. Whatever particular kind of love I (through God’s help) shared with them, seemed to be almost “retuned in kind”. For instance, I helped my sister with clothing purchases etc, and since her transitioning, seem to have many items I purchase suddenly reduced in price, or find EXACTLY what I’m looking for, in unexpected places!

    • Thank you, Donna. Brandon used to give me drawings for gifts a lot of times. I treasured them then but more so now. That particular drawing seems hopeful because of the light…Brandon used light even in his dark pictures….like the moon or the indirect glow of another source of light….etc..this drawing has so many meanings to me now…not of sentiment so much as the hopefulness of unity, even in its foreboding shadows.

      Since you have been “grieving your losses” longer than I have…and I say that in a very human way…I respect your insight of the spiritual aspect of our loved ones around us. I’ve had to do a little rethinking about my beliefs on this matter since Brandon “transitioned.” And it is definitely a transition. We know life continues in a most wonderful, perfect realm beyond our own understanding. God is in all of our experiences concerning our loved ones who are with Him…sights, signs, and sound.

      I used to think that it would not be much of a heaven for our loved ones if they could see the grief we are in and the trials we go through…but, you have made me think in another way about it. Why of course they can see us and hear us and know…because they now know on God’s level and how it will all turn out for the good. So therefore there cannot be any sadness on their part. No tears in Heaven. xo

  2. Dale, you are breaking my heart. Peace and love to you, my friend. And I’ll say this because I know it, even if you don’t (yet) – none of this is your fault, there isn’t anything you could have done, and my God what a mother you are because he came to you, he trusted you, he confided in you. We bring these children we love and adore into this world and so feel responsible for all of it; we’re not. I don’t have to tell you we’re all in God’s hands; there are moments of comfort in that, but what a struggle for us to to just rest there, what with our beloved sons gone. I miss him, Dale – who better than you knows what I’m talking about? And may I say again what a sensitive and talented artist Brandon was – that picture is haunting.


    • Thank you, Denise…it must be the natural way of grieving..assuming guilt…regretting what we thought was in our control. As much as I tell myself that I would have saved him if I could, I know it is foolish of me to think I could know what was going to happen.

      You are so very right about the struggle to rest in God’s hands. There is a lesson in each new day just to learn to trust Him. I pray for you this night, Denise…peace be yours. Tight Brandon bear hugs to you….thank you fro appreciating Brandon’s art. xo …dale

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