Why Did They Die so Soon?
First it was my brother, Bobby, the boy who never met a stranger. Bobby was much like Daddy in that he always tried to make everybody laugh. Everybody liked Bobby. We grew up poor, but Bobby always had people buying him stuff because they liked him. He was just that sort of person. But, just like Daddy, Bobby’s flaw was that he was an alcoholic. Bobby was incarcerated for not paying on his fines for DUI and also possession of marijuana. He had been trying to get his life together. He was enrolled in a program at a technical college where he was taking auto body repair. He said he felt different there at school–that he really applied himself and that others didn’t even act like they cared. He finally had hope. But one trip back with his old friends in his old hometown was enough to get him back into one of his old patterns and he decided to get some marijuana. He was stopped by the police and found to be in possession. The day he went before the judge was a strange day–an almost mystical day. I was there with a letter from one of the directors of the school stating that he was enrolled in the program. But this was not enough for the Judge. When Bobby’s lawyer asked if they were sure that it was marijuana, the Judge said he didn’t know many people who would carry around a little bag of turnip greens. The Judge wanted him to stay in the same town and not be allowed to return to his out-of-state school. He said he thought the same thing might happen there. He wanted him to be with my mother at her home. The problem was that my mother had two children with my step-father and the burden would have been heavy on her. So, when they asked her if he could be released to her, she hesitated. She said, “well, oh, well my husband, uh–” I didn’t hear anything else. So, Bobby stayed in jail. It was a strange day, a very strange day. This one day, in my opinion, was the turning point of his life–he started dieing that day. You just never know. When I went to visit him there at the jail and bring him a few things, I asked him if they ever got ice cream. He said, are you crazy–they’d kill for ice cream here. Anyway, after a few weeks, Bobby was released and was on his way to live with me again when he was hit by a train. They said he was intoxicated. I remember my sister and brothers and I going downtown to get clothes for him to wear. We wanted him to have jeans, because he always wore jeans and then he had to have underwear. Why did he have to have them? There was a big discussion over this, so we finally made the decision that he was going to have underwear. The person who was helping us said that they came three to a package; someone said what are we going to do with the other two pairs? The assistant there at the store, seeing the situation said that he could get boxer shorts. But, we said he never wore boxer shorts. She said, ok–I’ll just take one pair out of the package. We were half there and half somewhere else. An open-casket was more than I could take. I remember thinking to myself–where were all these people when he was alive. One woman said, “doesn’t he look good?” I remember saying to her “the only way he would look good would be if he were alive.” My mother really loved Bobby because he was the only one who could make her laugh. She hasn’t really laughed much since he died. That was about 20 years ago.
Then there was Randy. Randy was a sweet, gentle man who never hurt anybody intentionally–except himself. When he was only 10, he had an accident which damaged his voice box; he was driving a gocart and ran into a chain length fence. He pressed the gas instead of the brakes. But, still he didn’t let that keep him from utilizing his voice as a way to make his living. With his graveldy voice, he worked at McDonalds and took orders thru the drive in. Many people asked him if he had a cold. Then later he worked for a major electronics firm where he worked in customer service. His last major goal was to receive his RN degree; but even though he graduated with a 4.0 average, he never got to use it. Just a few days after graduation, he was diagnosed with full blown AIDS. He could probably have lived longer if he had taken his anti retro viral drugs, but he said they made him sick, so he flushed them down the toilet. AIDS did not take him quickly. He suffered, so when he died at the hospital, I knew in my heart he would be better off with the Lord. He did try for a while. Randy never hurt anybody except himself, so why did he leave this earth premature? Randy joked about having AIDS and that Oprah ought to have him and Clay on her show because he felt it was probably strange for two brothers to have AIDS.
Randy and Clay both had gone to Los Angeles where they felt they were more accepted and able to live and not be judged because of their sexual preference. Clay was the strongest and was a fighter. Clay could really get angry. He was more of an in your face person. But when it came to AIDS, he was actually featured as one of the persons with full-blown AIDS who had lived the longest. This was many years ago, when everyone who got AIDS was expected to die from complications associated with AIDS. He said all of his friends were gone, including his partner whom he loved. But he fought and kept a positive attitude. He told me that at one time his T-cells were so few that he had them named.
So, why am I telling you about this? Why am I releasing painful information to you? It is not to make you sad. If you’ve read this whole article, you are definitely an unusual person who is not afraid to explore truth. Most people would have quit when after reading about Bobby. It is my opinion that most people don’t want to face reality when it comes to death and AIDS. That is why people don’t talk about it or why a cure has not been found.
I remember how people’s remarks hurt me so. My pastor at church stated in one of his sermons that “in the beginning, God created Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.“ I went up after the service and told him how this made me feel. After that, I left my church. My brothers had a relationship with God; none of us are perfect. We are told not to judge. But, people often put down and criticize something they are afraid of or don’t understand. We must all strive to understand each other. We must all love one another. We must all know that AIDS or alcoholism or any type of disease can happen to any of us or a person we love.