14 March 2009

Saturday The 14th

Today is Saturday the 14th, which means yesterday was a Friday the 13th.

As with every other Friday the 13th I can remember since high school, people seemed to use it as a reason to celebrate, maybe go a little crazy.

The 14th of June last year was a Saturday, preceded, as always, by a Friday the 13th. Like yesterday, there was a stir because of the connotations of this day and date.
It ended up being a calm, boring night for my girlfriend and I, going out for a while but being home before midnight.
Around midnight Pacific time we went to pick up her roommate whose car hadn't started, which was about the same time my little brother was being pronounced dead after being stabbed in the chest, in an alley in Chicago.

I of course didn't know this until the next morning. I walked into my aunt and uncles house just before 8am that morning of Saturday June 14th with lattes and a smile on my face; it was a beautiful morning and we were about to do the local farmers market.

My aunt was holding the phone in her had and looked at me as I walked in; I don't remember anything out of the ordinary other than her not being busy with something. My uncle stayed just out of sight right around the corner as she reached the phone towards me and said, "You have to call your mom and dad..." and then she put both arms around me as I did.

My father answered the phone right away in what sounded to me like a normal voice. I remember thinking "It must be Grandma..." and then my daddy said "Honey it's really bad." I said, "Ok." I didn't hear my mother's voice but I knew she was also on the other end of the line. Dad paused and said, "Brendan was killed last night..." and then it all gets pretty black.

I know my aunt and uncle were both standing there when I dropped the phone (I remember having this feeling that the phone was heavy and it just leaving my hands). When I dropped to the ground I remember both of their bodies holding me. They were sitting somehow behind me and next to me on the floor and the first thing I remember being able to focus on was the phone on the floor a couple feet in front of me, and I wondered if my father had hung up. Some matter of time later when my uncle picked up the phone and handed it back to me I remember feeling surprised that my parents were still on the line. That was the first moment I heard my mothers voice, but it was the sound of her crying.

I've often wondered, morbidly maybe, what it all looked like from the outside. What sounds I made, what I said, how long I was on the floor, how did my aunt and uncle get down there with me... I know it wouldn't bring any comfort but I am curious.

The holidays and birthdays, the weddings and babies and funerals, the birth and death dates of the deceased (especially if they were young and it was sudden) - those are the events when you think people are thinking of the ones who died. This is true, of course. But in fact it is every day, almost every phase of every day, when I am thinking about Brendan, punctuated by the "important dates", which for me now include Fridays that fall on a 13th day. Every Friday the 13th now when people are getting ready to get into some troublesome fun, I will be remembering the last moment, the last breath I took before my heart broke on a Saturday the 14th.


  1. And now, on this Sunday the 15th, my dad's birthday, I am sitting on my couch, crying, remembering the email I got from you about Brendan, and just a few minutes later calling you and being surprised when you answered. I remember not knowing what to say, and when you answered the phone all I could manage to choke out through the sobbing was, "Oh, Caitlin." Which is pretty much how I feel now, reading this post.

    I'm so sorry, my Shmate. I love you so much, and I would take away your pain if I knew how.

  2. wow, the description you wrote gave me chills of that day. I can't imagine how you must have felt that day or how you feel when you relive that feeling on a day to day basis....Just know I love reading your blogs I check on them every few days so don't stop writing them, they are impacting someone's life :)

  3. It just breaks my heart. I can relate to how you feel. I remember the call we got, I just knew it was my mother. Not once did I think it would be my little brother.

    I too want so much to take your pain away. I love you to the moon and think you are something amazing.