It's been 268 days. Has it really been that long? It's almost been a year???? It's almost been 365 since I got Chad's P.O.'s call telling me my brother was a suspect in a homicide. One of the very worst days of my existance. Just when I thought my life had all but ended, it has continued to move on, go forward. Some days are kind, others not so much, but I have done "ok" so far and can only hope it continues.
But today, the first day of July, in a whole new year, I was forced to face what I have avoided these last 268 days. I had to face the fact that today was the day I would HAVE to clean out Chad's belongings. It was time to clean out his room and make way for our little brother "B" to make his entrance. I would have put this day off for many more days, months, maybe even another year or so if I could have, but it was the only room I had to offer "B" so the day of reckoning was finally on my shoulders and there was no getting out of it. Not this time.
I made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy some bins for his belongings. I was pretty confident and sure of myself that I would be just fine doing this. It's been a very busy sprummer (spring and summer mixed) and I have been filled with things to do, girls night's out, yard work, spring cleaning, and the everyday hustle and bustle of my at times completely overwhelming life. I have seen Chad, talked to Chad, and spoke of him & "her name" nightly in my prayers, and with all of that, I have been able to mend in some ways. I'm not over it, nor will I ever will be over it...but I'm functioning and I'm understanding more and more. His voice, his hugs and seeing him as a "recovering" addict is what stitches my heart together, little by little.
My boyfriend was home with me today so I didn't have to face what I have put off for so long....alone. He never leaves me alone to deal with the hard shit that comes into my life, unless I want him too. When I did think about having to go through Chad's belongings, I had convinced myself that being solo while doing so would be the very best way for me to do it. But something told me, that gut instinct said, "not today, not with this will you be solo."
So home from Wal-Mart, in the house, and into Chad's room I went with the bins. I looked around memorizing once again the way his room looked, the way his room smelled and what was where before I packed it all up. Where do I even start? Asking myself that question, "where do I start" was my way of holding off just a few more minutes, stalling and slacking a bit longer on doing the unbearable. But I had too this time, it wasn't a choice to procrastinate anymore.
I started from the left and worked myself to the right. Chad was such an organized freak of nature, lol, much like myself but even more so than me. His shirts were perfectly aligned by color and sleeve length. His closet started with the short sleeved T-shirts and vaguely made their way to long his long sleeved sweaters. I handled them softly, laying them in the bins, occasionally holding a shirt up to my face breathing in the smell of laundry soap, softener, and of course...Chad. I didn't make any attempt to rush through the process. After all, this would be it. This was all I had left, besides this story, and I wanted to cherish the emotions no matter what my heart held.
He had shirts and sweaters in there from Abercrombie, Old Navy, American Eagle, Polo, Nautica, and so on. He was not a frugal dresser by any means. Chad always dressed to the nines and did so with pride... when his body wasn't pumping heroin. I guess I can take that back because even during the nights of going to his addict classes or the family bar-b-q's, he always tried to maintain his composure of perfect hair, perfect creases and perfect manicures. He knew how to take very good care of himself when he could.
I packed up everything I possibly could in the bins and the suitcase he had in his closet. And once that was done, I had to clean out yet ANOTHER room in my house, the storage room..downstairs. "D" continued to help me and make it as easy as possible. Ha...ya right. A storage room that has had every body's crap just thrown in it for three years. Easy???? I didn't think it was possible but with his help, much to my dismay, it was.
Chad's belongings would fit right under the staircase and that's where I planned for them to go. "D" has a friend living with us who puts his bike in the storage room and in doing so, I suppose he unconsciously shoved my never been used by me Christmas tree under the staircase that WAS taped up in it's box so it wouldn't fall out. It was given to me last year after Christmas so I haven't used it yet.
I was getting hot and tired. It was humid outside and workin my nerves inside. I tried putting the Christmas tree away the right way but it wasn't working, I was just making the mess of it worse. I was frustrated and erked. I mean really, could he not have just done it right in the first place? Did he really have to just shove my tree under the staircase letting every piece of masking tape that was holding it together break apart while different parts of the tree ended up hanging out and all over the place? DAMN IT!!!!
"D" looked at me and said "are you ok" and of course I told him I was fine. My famous line..."I'm fine." I looked at him and he said "are you sure because if you want to be alone I will let you be." I looked up at him and THAT'S when the "confidence and sureness" that I would be ok while
packing Chad's belonging's quickly crumbled and once again, I lost it. The tears poured out of my eyes and before I knew it, my face was buried in D's chest with his arms embracing me and I sobbed like a little girl who lost her best friend. In a way, I did. I lost more than my best friend. I lost my brother to his gosh damn heroin addiction. I had promised myself I wasn't going to cry and I even told "D" "I don't want to cry...... no I'm not going to do this" as I'm drying my tears......"I'm not going to cry anymore!!!" He looked at me and reminded me how stubborn I was and tears just kept making their way through. Right outta my heart and down my cheeks, dropping on my shirt, the floor and whatever else would catch them.
I soon realized I wasn't even mad at "B" as I pretended to be over my Christmas tree and it being treated unwell. Good God...seriously Mindy, get OVER it. It's a fake Christmas tree for hell sake. I was really just using it as the excuse to be mad so I wouldn't cry at the very thought that the life of my brother, all I physically had left with me, in my house, what HE wore, his scent, his shoes, certain pants I can see him wearing as if he were standing right in front of me, had been put into two 45 gallon bins and one little suitcase and are now the residents of my dark, cold, and hardly ever visited storage room in the basement of my home. Pathetic, heart-breaking, and I couldn't wait for the task to be over!!!!
"D" put the bins in my storage room in an area that should I ever want to revisit the clothes that hugged Chad, I could do it easily without creating a mess or having to shift everything around just to get to them. They are right there as you walk in, nicely stacked against a wall. I don't know if Chad will ever have the chance to open those bins. I guess they would almost be like time capsules. Something exciting for him to see, remember what he had if he is ever given the chance to once again visit a life he once had. Oh Chad, I miss and love you like crazy and damn you for all of this. Damn that heroin, damn the O.C's, damn your drug addiction. Just damn it all.