I know what "in shock" feels like. I've been in shock for a couple of days. Worse yesterday. I couldn't focus. At all. Part of my brain is trying to wrap itself around the idea that my youngest brother has died. Part of my brain is trying to think of much-less-important things, like flights, and plans, and ounces of gels in clear zipper bags. I just stopped. That was all I could do. I sat down and looked at the TV. Eventually I tried to sleep. I slept about two hours. I finally got to sleep, then when I had to get up to pee (damn old age), I couldn't go back to sleep.
I'm doing better today. I still have things to do and I'm having a hard time getting started. I have time, though. I won't be flying home until Friday, so I have a couple of days to get organized.
I haven't seen much of my youngest brother at all since I joined the Army in 1971. During my 22 years of service I visited once in a while. Not often enough. Since I retired in 1993, I have only been home once, I think. Family members have come to visit me, but never Charlie. Everyone else had the money and/or the means to come visit. Charlie didn't. I wish he had. We'd sort of hinted at the idea a few times that he should come down and visit me here in Texas. He probably would have fit right in. But he never came.
During my last tour overseas, I occasionally talked on the phone with my mom. She'd call me or I'd call her. Almost every time Charlie would get on the phone and we'd chat for a little while. During one phone call he said something I'd never heard from a family member before. He said, "I love you." I was so touched that it brought tears to my eyes. By saying that he taught me that it wasn't hard to say, and it was a good thing to say. Since then I've been saying, "I love you" at the end of all my family phone conversations.
The last time I talked with Charlie on the phone wasn't too long ago. I'm comforted by the fact that I know our last words to each other were, "I love you." I can here his voice now saying, "I love you, Sis."
I love you too, Charlie. Rest in peace.
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