Kristina Furey

"Last Night I Dreamt of Angels"

 

“Last night I dreamt of angels-as I closed my eyes to sleep-As I struggled with the fears of the day-I slipped safely in peace-and in my dreams-they were smiling at me-telling me-to be strong-and they told me-the darkest of nights-can be followed-by the brightest of dawns-What I learned in those moments-was so much bigger than me-what I knew-to be true in my heart-my head could not conceive-yet in my dreams-they were smiling at me-telling me to have faith-then they told me-the greatest of challenges-offers the greatest of strength-but back here on earth-back here on earth-it just hurts!-I’ve been dreaming of angels-well since I was a child-in the darkest of nights-as I lay there-I found them at my side-in my dreams-always smiling at me-telling me to be strong-they would tell me-the will to forgive-was the same strength-I need to move on-but back here on earth-back here on earth-IT JUST HURTS!!!”    <—True story, I experienced this just after 9/11.  (Explanation below)

I believe I have mentioned before that I have sleep issues…  Along with the occasional bouts of insomnia, I have hypnagogic episodes sometimes too.  As I’m falling asleep, I may hear things in my head that can interfere with the process of falling asleep.  I may hear a voice say something or I might hear music and wake up, only to find it was me falling asleep and beginning to dream.  It’s much like starting to fall asleep, and hearing someone snore.  Then as you wake up the snoring is gone because it was you snoring.  Yeah, that happens to me too.  Only difference being, that the voices and music are in my head and not filling the room the way my snores do.  I also experience sleep paralysis, which really frightened me as a child.  I used to call them my coma dreams.   As I’ve aged I’ve become more curious about the experiences and I find them kind of interesting.  During them, I’m aware that I am asleep but I’m not able to wake up.  Sometimes on top of that, I may hear voices talking or music playing and sometimes other senses may be active and I can feel things like a dog jumping up on the bed and lying beside me.  It brought with it such an intense feeling of love.  For almost a week afterwards I could think of that and the feeling would come over me.  I used to fear I was experiencing ghostly encounters, especially since most often when I slept in this one loft, I used to sleep in occasionally, I would hear a dogs tag jingling on it’s collar as it made it’s way up the stairs.  I would hear it’s paws softly touch the carpet as it’s breathing came close to me and I would feel it’s presence at my side.  I couldn’t open my eyes and see it and when I woke up, I never saw or heard anything of a dogs presence.  It was scary at times too but then as I began to realize what was happening, I became more curious and open to the experiences, at times even grateful, as some of the experiences seemed divine as I listened to the intelligence of words that seemed to be whispered in my ears.  Sometimes I tell myself they really are angels because I want to believe we are being watched over. 

 

"Whiplash" I finally saw it!

 

“You’ve got me running in circles-round and round-till I fall down-You’ve got me jumping through the hoops of your heart-And I don’t want to play this game with you-but you know I always do-and I guess that’s the amusing part”  <—My answer, when my father asked me, “What was the part about jumping through hoops?”  After Dan and I had played our song “Obsession” for him.  I rattled it off, as the pride in me swelled, that he had noticed how cleverly I was able to state something, I had tried so hard to explain over and over again, year after year, in songs I wrote and in other things I’d written and tried to communicate.  I was certain in that moment he could really see how hard I had worked and that I had talent.  

So that’s what kept popping up in my head as I watched the movie “Whiplash” last Saturday.  

I squirmed in my seat, recounting all the hurtful things my father had said to me over the years.  I wondered if his strategy had been similar to J.K. Simmons’ character and I was perhaps the student that couldn’t cut it.  I thought about how exhausting it is to to try to please some people in an attempt to validate yourself and how once you’ve been taught to hold yourself to impossible standards, you yourself can carry on the abuse for years or even a lifetime, if you don’t discover a way out of that kind of thinking…  No, I decided, it wasn’t that I couldn’t cut it, it was that I wouldn’t.  I saw it as abuse and I wanted no part.  I did what came naturally to me and walked away in an effort to self preserve me and the things about me, I hold sacred.

Where did it begin with my father?  I have reason to believe, in the boy scouts.  I remember it told, that the NAVY soldiers had been in charge of the scouts while their fathers were away and it was run with military precision.  My Grandfather was an officer.  I believe he also expected nothing but excellence from my dad.  My dad performed like a champ.  He went on to become an Eagle Scout.  

I thought too, about the girl I occasionally spoke to in my chorus class, that showed up at my house at midnight, in my senior year of high school, explaining to my mom and I upon arrival at our door, that she had meant to knock on the door earlier but had noticed my car wasn’t in front of my home and while waiting for me to get home, she had fallen asleep in her mother’s car, that she had driven that day, her 18th birthday, to a Chopin competition in Baltimore.  We lived in Reston at the time.  She had not done as well at the competition as she had hoped and couldn’t bear to face her mother with the news.  There had been a lot of what I would define as abuse going on in her home.  It was always my nature to be open to others, empathetic to them when they opened up to me and forthcoming with my own experiences, when I thought it was helpful and I was kind of use to being sought out.  My mom was the same.  I studied my mom as she took in my classmates story.  I remember her saying, “Well I think we all need a good night’s sleep.  Let’s figure this out in the morning.”  In the morning (It was a Sunday morning), over breakfast, my mother told my classmate, seeing that she was now 18, legally she was an adult, so if she wanted she was free to stay in our home.  She had a scholarship and was heading to college in August.  If I remember correctly, it was in February when this happened. My mom also commented that because my friend was now 18 and the car legally belonged to her mother, she would need to get the car back to her mom or there could be legal problems.  We dropped the car off without her family knowing and then she called her mom to explain her decision to live with us until it was time for her to go to college.  Eventually, she did have some face to face encounters with her mother and family.  In fact about a month before she left for college she moved back in with them.  She and I became close and I learned more of what she had experienced.  Her experiences were similar to Geoffrey Rush’s in the movie, “Shine”.  

I want to mention, as uncomfortable as they are to watch, “Whiplash” and “Shine” are both exceptional movies showcasing the excellence of the actors in them, that will most likely leave you thinking of them, long after you’ve watched them.  They are remarkable pieces of work.  I just hope no one was abused in an effort to bring about the excellence of the performances.  

NOTE:  I originally wrote “We Can’t Deny” for my father.  Another one of my many attempts to build a bridge.  To speak to him in a way he might listen…

“We can’t deny-what’s happening here-You’re getting older-I’m getting older-I see the lines-etched on your face-a map to the past-reminder of yesterday-A time when you couldn’t love me-the way that I needed-thought you only loved me when I pleased you-now we push that pain aside-what good is pain-once we learn the lessons it teaches-I can’t deny-when I look at your face-love that I feel-love that you’ve given me-please won’t you give me your hand-I’ll help you stand-I can be strong now that you’re not-you, you can be strong for me-give your hand to me-that would show great strength in deed-Cause we can’t deny- that all that we have-is just here and now-only this space in time-please won’t you give me your hand-I’ll help you stand-I can be strong now that you’re not-you, you can be strong for me-give your hand to me-it could give us the courage-we both seek-…cause we can’t deny-what’s happening here-what’s happening here-what’s happening (.) (!) (?)

Strange enough, a friend shared this with me this past week:  Mike and the Mechanics' "Living Years" live at Isle of Wight Festival DEFINITELY remarkable!

 

Jim Carrey, this one's for you

 

Jim Carrey, this one's for you.. Last Friday night, someone mentioned to me that you had crashed “Fashion Week” saying it was the most meaningless thing you could do. The following morning, first thing, I viewed video of the incident for myself and though I don't actually believe you will ever read this, you spoke to my own unsettled nature and may have given me the kick in the pants I needed to put my own voice back out into the world.  I have experienced similar thoughts to those you expressed.  I have struggled with trying to quiet these thoughts in myself.  Quiet them, while suspecting the effort to quiet was detrimental to evolving in ways necessary to help prepare myself and others for something yet to be…  something I am completely clueless to but feel I instinctively know is on the horizon.  While I have felt this way,  I wasn't sure how to communicate this until I looked up the video and realized, I want anybody who is feeling similarly to know that there's others of us shaking our heads at where our culture is putting its importance as we wonder “What the what?!?”  For the moment, my thoughts on this whole existence thing, is that our “selves” are just built on a pattern of reactions, some that come from the pre-programming others have played a part in, some just chemical makeup and the rest probably dependent on the part it seems necessary for us to play at any given moment. I believe that last part is perhaps our nature.  Perhaps like a cell in the body waiting for its impulse to tell it what the whole body needs so it can compensate.  Our reactions, I believe, are natural responses that have just begun to be used in an unnatural, perhaps, ill way...  I'm concerned we have become just a series of reactions brought about by the whims of the mass we are a part of.  If that's so, maybe it is not self awareness that we need but the awareness that we are each a part of one mass in need of congruence.  When I look around at the world today, mostly what I see is people divided and reacting to that division relentlessly.  



What is fashions purpose?  I think Dr. Suess would have defined it as a "Thneed".   "A fine something that all people need."  Fashion is sold like costumes so people can dress up and play a role.  I have a strong sense inside me saying we all need to grow up and stop the madness, this desire to buy ourselves into something that makes us complete, powerful or whatever, may be currently trending as the thing to be.  It's all smoke and mirrors.  A nice distraction perhaps but it scares me that we are constantly being sold on this mentality of look better than, feel better than, be better than and the divisions continue…  I struggle with self image.  It's a slippery slope for me.  I once had the money, I had earned to acquire a chemical face lift, something I thought I wanted/thneeded to feel okay when out in public performing.  I just thought I would feel more comfortable, people can be cruel when they judge.  Then, I thought of this little child with a cleft palette, who gave me such a huge smile in front of the camera, when I was working with Images For Kids as an assistant some years back.  I had just cleaned his face with a wipe, telling him I was cleaning away anything that would get in the way of his parents seeing all his beauty in the photo we were about to take and as I finished, I said to him, "That's it!  I see all your beauty now!"  He beamed!  Long story short, I ended up donating the money so a kid with a cleft palate could have surgery and I'd like to think for some time I felt a lot more beautiful and confident than I would have had I gone through with the injections.   Don't know, I still look in the mirror sometimes and want to fix myself but part of me thinks I'm not what needs fixing... 

What are we becoming?  What do we want to give meaning and value to?
  Things I wonder...


When my mom died earlier this year I unconsciously chose to take a vow of silence, by removing my voice from the internet and any public forum.   She was the third in my family to die from cancer.  After going through the dying process with my brother, my father, and then my mother, I've been overcome with grief at our inability to see how our survival as a species is all connected.  I have found myself perplexed at communicating what I feel I've observed and it seemed like a good precautionary measure to take that vow of silence, so I wouldn't get it wrong and become part of what I believe is the problem, dysfunction.  Dysfunction seems to me to be the disease, we need to carefully cut from our lives, with the precision of a surgeon, performing brain surgery on a cancer patient.  We as a whole need to become self aware, so we as a whole can preserve whatever it is we are.  My heart goes out to Jim Carrey.  I felt you brother and I hope you are okay.  Sometimes being conscious of these things can be too much to explain in a way it can be understood, instead of shunned.  People fear coming to terms with overwhelming truth because they realize, if they accept that truth, they will have to deal with the part they play and decide if they will choose to continue or do the work it takes to get to a higher ground.  It's easier to deny and call someone crazy.  Jim Carrey, you are incredibly creative and I encourage you to find a more palatable, perhaps more subtle way of communicating what you are trying to express.  Try to find a way that they will not see as a threat to their self worth. 

  

***This last part is a note to any people I have disappointed by abandoning my website and the email attached to it.  I agonized and thought about checking my email but I was really taken aback by my mom's passing and I needed to tend to myself as it's my nature to take care of others and I really needed self care.  I am truly grateful for everyone that has offered their condolences.  Forgive me if I have appeared ungrateful as I know, I tend to walk away as a precautionary measure when I need to regroup, or protect myself and others from the emotional states that may make me less trusting of myself and my own decision making, actions even.  I honestly want something better for myself and for you and if I can't put that out, I really don't want to put anything out.

 

When The Binding Breaks

 

This past week I found this song coming through me and I almost posted this but lost my nerve instead.   I woke up at 3am today with a nudge to just do it.  

 

”When The Binding Breaks"

"When the binding breaks all the pages fall out-When the binding breaks, pages scatter about-Start to fly away-and the story, will never be the same-All the time it took to get it in place-Now it's not your book cause you've been erased-When the binding breaks-nothing will be the same...

But I read you-keeping safe inside our hopes and dreams-I read you-cause we somehow knew all the same things-and I treasured you for all you tried to do.

But when the binding breaks out of anger and hate-when the binding breaks, do they see their mistakes-Propaganda thick-is it too thick, to thick to see through-When the binding breaks stories are rearranged-When the binding breaks different stories come through-Truth is all replaced by a fascist kind of power...

But I read you-and committed you to my memory-I read you-I will sing of you until they hear me-Because before we could read, we would sing.

 

So when the binding breaks-When they break our backs-when propaganda takes it won't destroy our path-The words of hope you gave, to me-words of hope that I, now sing-will save us from our suffering and help us find our path."

He spoke quietly, paused between thoughts, allowing consideration to fill in the empty spaces.  He inspired hope.  He believed in change.  He understood people need to come together, see their likenesses to quiet their fears so they can peacefully cooperate in building a world that accommodates all.  Soft spoken.  Self disciplined.  Non-reactive.  Thoughtful.  In contrast to rogue.  I had lived long enough to know that rogue  was not to be trusted, just reactionary and more often the equivalent of monkeys throwing poo at one another, while proactive was a finely tuned instrument, designed to deliver quality results and so, I never voted with more confidence in my actions as I did in that 2008 election.   This past week I prayed, “Please don't let them degrade, dismantle or erase what a good leader looks like, sounds like or the actions he would take in support of us.  "One nation.  Under God.  Indivisible.  With liberty and justice for all."  I prayed, “Please God, if you exist, Don't let the salesman break us down and sell us out, piece by piece.  Don't let him fire our forefathers and what they set up in trust to us.”     

 

David Bowie’s “Man Who Sold The World”

Binding:  binding definition 

 

 

I learned something

 

The Rally was a great success!  Especially since this was its first run.  There are already plans to build on it for next year and more people that want to help out.  We were honored to be part of it!

I learned something!  I learned that registering for organ donation when getting your driver’s license may not be enough to ensure that your body parts will be used sufficiently to your wishes.  There’s different choices you can make and in my case, I was covered for organs but excluded was the use for therapy, medical research and education.  These things are important to me as I want our medical field to get what they need completely to save lives and bring ease to those lives in need.  Basically I want them to get what they need to help those in need.  I understand this is not for everyone but say you just want to make a certain organ or only particular organs available, you can also make sure they will only take what you authorize.  So if you haven’t considered donation for fear they would take more than you wish, that is not a concern.  They will only take what you wish.  So go sign up now if that’s been holding you back!  Here’s the national website address  and here’s the pre-written letter I got to send from http://www.donatelifeflorida.org  after specifying my own donation wishes.

"NOTIFY FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Please e-mail my decision to Donate Life to my family and friends. This e-mail will read as follows:

"I, KRISTINA FUREY, have signed up on Florida’s organ and tissue donor registry and I encourage you to do the same. It’s quick, easy and FREE. Help save lives by becoming an organ and tissue donor. Sign up and tell others your decision.

To sign up, or to obtain more information, please visit: http://www.donatelifeflorida.org"

Oh and here’s video footage from the Rally. 

Check out the new pictures in our gallery

 

 

My point (I do have one)

 

Okay, real quick here, if I can do anything real quick.  My mind is answering with, "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast."  Either way, on with it...  We play tomorrow at Rally At The Railroad at noon.  I have been sick but I'm feeling better, thank goodness!  

I had hoped when I starting blogging about my brother that I would be further along.  So perhaps one day I will have the opportunity to tell you what I don't have time to get to right now but I will now get to the point.  Things got complicated for my brother in ways all of those who loved him wished they had not.  His teens and twenties were difficult times and he headed down some paths in search of answers and self medication.  Often our perception of someone can be tainted and it seems more than ever in this day and time people are quick to judge what they don't fully have comprehension of.  I saw things unfold and my heart was deeply invested in my brother's life.  Which is why I was so relieved to see that when he hit his thirties he began to hit his stride in life.  He had begun to comprehend himself and allow his experiences to be something he owned, instead of allowing them to own him.  We don't choose our experiences in life.  We choose our paths with an idea of what experiences they may hold and at the core of those choices are our needs and sometimes we are suckered in, sometimes we make poor choices and sometimes there are simply just unfortunate circumstances.  It was a combination of all these things that played into my brother's life when he was only 28 and in the hospital getting ready to go into heart surgery.  It was just he and I, when he said something like, "If I die I don't want you to be so sad.  My life is not like yours.  You have a husband and family that love you and fill your life with joy.  I have had some real sadness in my life.  Since I was in prison (for drugs) I am no longer treated like a human.  I have no vote, no say in this country.  I have to lie to get a job and if I don’t, I get taken advantage of, paid less than what is legal in this country and on top of this, I have no love in my life.  No one to feel my absence.  It's not that big a loss."  I was floored and doing everything I could not to lose it right there and sob and instead persuade him to the understanding that those who loved him, loved him deeply.  He made it through the surgery and seemed to move forward with his life.  He found love and was married in his thirties.  He brought many people joy and when he, his wife and his business partner created “Sunshine Daydream Festivals” he created jobs and opportunities for others, he helped people create memories to last a lifetime and he gave home and jobs to some who had none.

I would have liked to have seen what else he would have been able to accomplish but he died at age 42, just after he was flown to a hospital, where we were all hopeful he might receive a liver transplant.   Organ donation gives those experiencing organ failure hope and sometimes life.  I did the best I could to give my brother hope when he was 28 and going under the knife and I encouraged him again to have hope at age 42 when his liver was failing.  I can only imagine what my brother would have accomplished today (he would be 50) if he had experienced a successful organ transplant.  I am so thankful for every moment I did get with my brother after that day back in 1994 or 95, when he was so sad and disheartened.  I’m so thankful to have seen him rise.

Please consider signing up to be an Organ Donor if you are not one already.  

Thank you

<3

 

 

 

"I always turn the car around"--O.A.R.

 

I was awakened by a phone call in the middle of the night.  I was 22 years old, still living in my parent’s home but they were away for labor day weekend.  So there I was around 1:30am that Sunday morning, awakened with my heart beating out of my chest, when I picked up the phone and it was my brother Kevin on the other end.  He asked for my parents and I told him where they were and then he said he needed my help.  He lived about an hour and a half away with his girlfriend and her mother and he wanted me to come and get him, now!  I had never been to their house and I think that’s what I said but he told me, “No, don’t come to the house!”  Meet me at the 7 Eleven at such and such place and then he quickly gave me directions.  I assured him I would be out the door in 5 minutes and that I wasn’t good at directions so it might take me some time to find it, especially if I got lost but he assured me if I followed his directions I would make it.  

Understanding from my brother’s quick assessment of what was going on, that I was likely heading into a dangerous situation, I prayed as I used the bathroom and got dressed.  On my way out the door, I hesitated, turned around and grabbed a piece of paper and wrote something like this, “Should you find I’m not home but find this letter, you should know, Kevin called to say something explosive went down at his girlfriends house, which resulted in her hitting him in the head with a beer bottle and him, as he put it, getting the hell out before he killed someone, she or himself. “ I also left the directions of where I was heading to pick him up, along with  the time and the date.  

As I headed down the road, it completely occurred to me that I might get lost, I might get there and he may never show up.  The scenarios of what might happen seemed vast but there was this calm knowing inside me too, this feeling it was going to be okay and that if I was risking my life, he was worth it!  He had gone down a path and this could be a pivotal moment that would deliver him back safely because he seemed to understand  it wasn’t working for him.  I thought about something else too, a time he really showed up for me.  There are very few people in my life I’ve ever admitted this too.  When I was 13 and things were unmanageable in my life I chose to skip school.  It didn’t help that I was being bullied at the time, that was like the nail in the coffin and on any give day it was questionable whether that coffin would be mine or someone elses.  Then, I was told the person responsible for the bullying efforts was coming to my house to fight me after school one day.  My brother found me with my Father’s gun.  As I said, things from my perspective had become very unmanageable and…   long story short my brother stopped me.  He told me should she shows up, I was going to fight her and he was going to stand behind me to make sure it was a fair fight (that her enlisted cronies would not participate.)  He followed that up with advice about how there is no such thing as a fair fight and I should use whatever I was able to, during a fight.  There you have it!  I wasn’t showing up to school with a gun but I had experienced what might set someone off and have them go there and that’s a really scary thing to know about yourself…  Oddly that knowing, gave me comfort as I went to get him and bring him home, safe.  

I did arrive at the location, without getting lost.  Mind you I had only the scribbled directions on me, no map of the area and certainly no GPS to recalculate for any mistakes I may have made.  I waited in that parking lot for about 20 minutes before he showed.  I did go in to ask the clerk to confirm it was indeed the only 7 Eleven in the area.  Still, it was a long wait…

This is a continuation from previous blogs from 2 weeks and 3 weeks ago and is to be continued…

O.A.R. "Shattered"

 

An Invitation

 

What would you do if your child met with a tragic accident?  If they were placed in critical care?  Are you prepared for this financially?  Chances are that won’t happen but for some, this is a reality.  Losing a child is hard enough without the complications of hospital and burial costs.  For some, an experience like this can wipe them out emotionally and financially.   It was a tragic accident that put Anthony Fowler’s parents in this position.  It was their love for their son, their desire to leave a legacy and their ability to find a way to pay it forward by being there for other parents in this position, that led to the creation of the Anthony Fowler Foundation.  They chose love instead of despair and they come to the aid of others to help them do the same.  They understand the currency of life is love.  It’s giving from the heart even as life, so loved and dear to you is being taken.  I am in awe of their compassion and that’s why the Anthony Fowler Foundation is so dear to my heart and why I ask you to please support them in their endeavors.  

Please come out to the Florida Railroad Museum, Saturday April 29th, from noon to 6:00pm.  It will be a celebration of life, Anthony’s and those saved as a result of his families vision to pay it forward in Anthony’s name.   Through this event, community members like you, can come out, celebrate and support the efforts of the Anthony Fowler Foundation to reach out to families side blinded by tragedy and struggling to meet the unforeseen financial obligations and complications brought on by the hospitalization and burial costs of a child.   April is “Donate Life Month” and comes just before Anthony’s birthday of May 1st and this is why the Anthony Fowler Foundation chose April 29th to hold this celebration.  Come,  celebrate and help us spread the word, spread the love, raise funds to lift the spirits and hearts of those future individuals that will be faced with their own tragedies.  We can lift them up.  We can be their heroes.  And if you can’t make it April 29th, please consider donating here.  Donations will help support families of children that have faced or are facing a life-ending tragedy, and will fund the Anthony Fowler Sports Equipment Grant Fund for youth residing in Parrish, Florida.  If you’d like a download of Dan’s and my song, “Deeper” look for the link there for that option.  100% of the donation money received goes to the Anthony Fowler Foundation.  It’s our way of paying it forward and our attempt at supporting the Anthony Fowler’s Foundation in leaving a legacy.  

One last request, please consider registering to be an organ donator.  I am registered and who knows, maybe one day my heart may be yours… ;-)

With all my heart,
Kristina <3

For more on this event: check out my calendar

 

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"--Bobby Scott and Bob Russell

 

Continued from last weeks blog…

My brother Kevin (K1) and I (K2) were both born in the month of April.  That wasn’t all we had in common.  There was our love of animals and also our love of music.  I was more a music geek, with a love of Julie Andrews, Doris Day and of course Olivia Newton John, while Kevin was more into whatever the older kids were into at the time.  Our next door neighbor was a young adult drummer and I think my brother Kevin admired him and wanted to be cool like him.  He was and he was that guy everyone wanted to hang with and be like, much like Ferris Beuller and I often was just known as his little sister but I liked that.  It was more he, that preferred his distance, from his geeky little Sis.  So I, often not allowed in his room would sit outside his door and listen to whatever music he would be listening to in his room.  Often I’d be out there listening to KISS, JIM CROCE and the EAGLES, I liked them.  Some of his music, I wasn’t so much into.  I admired his innate ability to understand and play music, especially when he was playing the radio songs on the piano, and I was still plunking out beginner songs on the piano, after years of lessons that never seemed intent on helping me, play the music, that I loved and wanted to play.   Eventually I begged my parents to end my torturous lessons and they did one day, when one of my piano teachers told them I couldn’t read music after so many years of lessons.  I had just been memorizing the material…  Still,  I couldn’t help but wish my brother would someday see me as the Marie to his Donnie but I guess too,  I kind of knew somewhere in the back of my head that even Donnie and Marie, were geeks by my brother’s perspective.   

More than ever my brother didn’t want me around when he was in middle school.  I remember looking for him one night when we had gone to our church for a Fellowship Dinner and he disappeared. I walked outside and saw people getting in a car.  The car just sat there in the parking lot, so I headed over to see if he was hanging out in it.  It was dark and as I tapped on the glass, someone rolled down the window, smoke poured out of the car and I heard my brother’s voice, from the back seat of the car, telling me to go away.  I did.  I was very conflicted but I didn’t tell my parents.  Corporal punishment was practiced in our home and I didn’t have the heart to see what might go down if I told.  It was apparent to me that he and my Dad rarely saw things eye to eye and I wanted to keep the peace.   Soon, very soon after that, there was a parade of a few parents, some of them with their teens, one by one, every so many weeks, going up to the pulpit and apologizing to the church for experiences the teens had with drugs and asking the church to pray for them.  I was just a kid but I could feel the embarrassment, shame and fear even, that was there in the church.   No one from my family ever made that walk of shame but our church going days, soon came to an end.  —to be continued—

The Osmond's performing, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"

 

"There goes my hero"--Foo Fighters

 

When I was a child I had free roam of the world around me.  I had a brother named Kevin, who we called “K1”, my early pronunciation of Kevin, when I was just learning to speak.  That nickname made me “K2”  This was fitting, as I was his sidekick.  Well, when he allowed it or maybe better put, “when no one else could show up for the job.”  Hanging with his kid sister wasn’t exactly first choice for K1 but that did not stop my enthusiasm.  I was always up for the adventure.  A lot of it involved critters, wether going fishing, hunting for crayfish, creating our own butterfly or aquatic habitat or building a pigeon coop and learning that when you buy someone else’s homing pigeon, you may pay twice for the same bird.  One thing was for sure, we loved our little friends!  We wanted to learn about them, be entertained by them and we watched over them like a protective parent.   So it happened on more than one occasion that we’d find an animal in some unfortunate state.  Wether it was a bird that had mistook a window for a roosting spot, a lost dog, cat or ferret we found roaming the neighborhood, a turtle in the road or an injured bunny, our world would come to a stop and we’d do the best we could to help.

In our neighborhood, about a mile from our home, lived a vet.  He had a small farm with animals and  he had kids my brother’s age and mine.  My brother spent time hanging with one of his sons and understood that the vet would nurse non-domestic animals back to health when he wasn’t working.  The man was our hero!  When we would find an injured animal we’d plop ourselves down on the corner of our yard and wait for the vet to pass by on his way home from work.  Our parents used to 1/2 joke that he was going to find another route home if we didn’t stop interrupting his drive home with more work but we paid no mind.  We would stop him and show him the critter and ask him what we could do to help it.  He always took the time and occasionally the animal with him, if he thought it was something we would not be able to handle.  After he doctored it up and it was healed he’d drop it off with us and tell us to put it back where we found it.  

So touched by our heroes kindness and consideration for life, his quests to preserve it, I was inspired by his actions and thought back then that I wanted to marry a vet/farmer when I grew up.  I remember considering the vet’s son that was my age as possible husband material.  We were in the same class and even back in elementary school I noticed how he was like his father, soft spoken, kind and considerate.   Later, when I was in high school, he was working with his father after school, the day my dog was put to sleep.  He was no longer on my husband radar as I had decided by then, I was not marrying.  He was like his father though and I never lost sight of what I had admired in his father and recalled when he so kindly tried to comfort me with the description of what happened as they put my dog to sleep.  I could not bear being there but needed to hear from someone the details or rather that it was okay.

I thought my brother would become a vet or a national park’s ranger, with his love of nature, people and animals.  Still, I’m not surprised where he eventually ended up…  To be continued… 

"My Hero" by Foo Fighters