Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

Thanksgiving week began as it always does ~ shopping for food, attempting to clean the house, the realization that there will be way too much food and how does that happen ever single year? Tuesday I went to Alex's school and had a Thanksgiving feast, complete with chicken nuggets (which were a LOT more popular than my homemade turkey dressing, let me tell you). And through it all, the weather was that freaky mid-Atlantic November weather. Monday and Tuesday it rained like a mug, and Wednesday and Thursday were so gorgeous you didn't need a jacket and you're all...okay I'm loving this but it's going to have to chilly up a bit for Christmas.

Through it all, I remember feeling so thankful. The way the leaves fell off the trees. The way my kid will re-enact the Lion King (and ask me to be Rafiki to write on his forehead). Even for too much food. For my pedicure. For a house about to implode with dirty laundry. Big and small, I remembered being so thankful, and saying a prayer for those less fortunate than me.

And then...

Thanksgiving weekend I lost one of my best friends. And I'm a mess. Kevin is the strong one. That's what we do. I cry over sad movies. He makes fun of my ugly pants. He sits at the edge of my dining room table and shakes his head at my disorganization. My son calls him Uncle Kevin. His daughters call me Auntie Tye..well, the littlest one does. His older daughters just call me, simply Tyuana.

I look for God's Grace whenever and wherever I can. I know it's there...and I know He will show it to me...if I can only look past how absolutely heartbroken I am. My heart breaks for his children, for his family, and yes, for me. Kevin was the brother God gave me because I didn't have any of my own. Kevin put me on a plane to my parents house when I went through the worst break up ever. Kevin ALWAYS made me matter how bad my mood was. He had an ear for everyone, he was always willing to listen. But he wasn't always willing to talk. I would always pry for information and he'd call me nosey and I'd be that's news. Several years ago, before either of us were married, we hopped to 4 different Thanxgivings...that was epic. I ate at all 4 places...thought I would die, but each house offered something different. That was the first time I met all of Kevin's family...I love them. They are family to me, because they are his family. Then there was the time, when we still worked together (this still makes me laugh), I had to talk to him about work...but he wasn't answering me...I kept talking and talking and finally he shushes me and turns up the radio. Barry White was playing...he turns it up and just starts singing...and I'm like...UH HELLO? And he simply's Barry. Recently, when the pace of cheering and working and parenting and life had caught up with me, and I hadn't seen him in a while...he just said, slow down. Kevin always hated Doctor Phil because he said that man got rich dispensing common sense. He was a man of few words (unless he was going on one of his famous, funnier than Dennis Miller rants), but all of his words had meaning. To me. To his family. To his children. To my child.

Walter always said that Kevin could say the things he was thinking and not get in trouble for it. So it was usually Kevin that would tell me that I spent too much money, or that my pants were hideous...or gently, that I could stand to hit the gym. But he only did it when I wanted to go. He told me once...if you were happy, I'd never say anything. I'm just reminding you of what YOU want.

There was the time his middle daughter, out of the blue, started calling him Mr. Kevin Merriweather.

Or when he very seriously told me that he had to break up with Nia Long because he realized she was a smoker.

Or the time I had him turn on my lights to make it seem like I was in the office when I was nowhere close.

Or the time, I got my girlfriend's pound cake recipe. I had promised Kevin, when his mom died, that I'd make him a pound cake. I got the best recipe I knew. I swear to this day my girlfriend gave it to me wrong, but I was putting too much baking soda in it. Cake after cake after cake fell. When I finally got one that resembled food, but weighed about 17 pounds I gave it to Kevin. He thanked me and told me it was good and took it home. He told Walter later, and swore him to secrecy, that it was too heavy and he couldn't eat it. But he didn't want me to know because I had worked so hard.

Here's the problem...I don't have enough stories for my lifetime. I was just asking him how we were going to "do it up" for his 40th. I was older in years...he was my big brother in every other way.

A couple of weeks ago -- I was driving home from work -- and the fog was misting through the trees, creating a shadow in front of the sun. The trees still had a lot of their leaves. The picture was breathtaking and I remember thinking...this must be what heaven is like. This must be what people see so they aren't afraid to leave this earth...the promise of something bigger, more beautiful. And then, I got a little freaked out that God was showing me this because it was my turn. But it wasn't. Maybe he showed me that picture so that I'd know where Kevin was going was beautiful. At times like this, all I have is my faith...I know that someone gently took Kevin by the hand on Thursday and took him to a lovely, peaceful place.

...but he's still supposed to be here.

There are no words to describe how much I will miss him. How I still think this is all a cruel cruel joke. You know there's...maybe a 5 second interval in the morning before your memory kicks in? Especially when something bad happens? That is happening to me. Saturday morning I asked Walter if I had dreamed it all.

He told me no.

I love you, Kevvie. Rest in Peace.