Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am my brother's keeper................

John, you keep bringing good things into my life.  I love you forever and will not allow your flame to die.  I'm so sorry it took me so long.


Your sister

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Inspiration comes in the most unlikeliest of ways...........

Well, have finally completed the short story and it's out there just waiting to be recognized.  I'm still amazed how my writing life has progressed since John burst into my life in January 2009.  He's given me real purpose and a faith in myself I never thought existed.  He is a true inspiration!  I think he's channeling himself through me - he wanted to be journalist and did very well in the journalism classes he took - all A's & B's.  Sadly, he never got to fullfil his dream but maybe he is............through me. It's my pleasure and an honor to have my brother as my inspiration and I hope to do him proud!   I hope someday I will reach the point where I can actually feel his arms around me and the warmth such an act as a simple hug can give.  I wish I could give John a hug now; that's a downside of the spirit world  - to never feel that actual physical warmth again.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Taking a break............

but not forgetting John for one second.  In the process of writing short story for writing competition - the subject matter: John, of course!  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Little Boy with a Bobby Pin in His Hair.........John @ age 4

Couldn't you just pinch his little cheeks?  xoxo to John

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In his own words............

The Random Thoughts of a Man Under the Influence …………..Of Mental Illness

John had thoughts all day, every day, and would makes notes on whatever piece of paper he could find. His Bibles are filled with margin notes, agreeing & disagreeing with the words of the Good Book; most are just thoughts. The notations below are dated within the period of 1969 and March 1971 - his last - and are just a glimpse into the mind of a young man whose thoughts actually killed him - nothing overly reflective of his illness but ill all the while.  John’s words are written just as he wrote them.  I don’t think he’ll mind my sharing with you.

1/23/69        “To succeed in life, one must have no conscience”.

1/23/69         "My ideas are like the stock market. Up and down”.

1/23/69          “The real enemies of mankind:
                       1. poverty; 2. ignorance; 3. hunger; 4. disease”.

1/27/69          “An individual smoking 1 ½ packs a day may,
                       but more likely will, develop cancer (lung & throat).

1/3/70            “I will sue the V.A. for $12,514,248.98 starting
                       3 Jan 70”.

6/30/70         “Presented to myself in the hopes of discovering
                       what happened 25 Jan 1969 in Smyrna, Turkey”

 Note: John was stationed in Turkey in 1969, where he became ill and ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia; he was honorably discharged shortly thereafter (5/21/69). This notation was made in the "New English Bible”, Second Edition (1970)

9/5/70             "All knowledge begins with Fear of the Lord".
3/27/71           “You have all the answers, John. Become stoic.
                         Never show emotion”.

The End.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Troubled Mind..........

What is schizophrenia and how and when does it attack.  I've read quite a few articles on the illness so ask me if I understand a single medical word written - no!  I have read enough, however, to explain in layman's words, the words of a sister trying to understand what really killed her brother, what it is.  True, John took his own life, and in the worst way possible, but no one can convince me that it was his choice or that his sensitive nature would allow him to choose to leave this world with so many broken hearts left behind and so many questions to answers that will never come. I strongly believe it was the demons of his illness that took over and told him to "jump".  And, unless you have walked in the same shoes as he, those demons are very powerful - you do what they tell you and don't stop to ask questions.  Schizophrenia, basically, is the crossing of wires in the brain where you do not and cannot think like others.  You wonder why, you ask questions, and don't understand what's happening to you, but you know something's not right. You hear voices coming from various outlets - the radio, the t.v., hear other voices in a group of three; your brain is sort of like a shortwave radio where you can hear all kinds of voices and sounds.  And, you're the only who can hear these voices and noises.  These voices and noises are loud, and then they become louder, and louder and more loud, until the person can no longer stand it and  must act.  Could you imagine that happening to you, in your normal state of mind - hell, most people cannot even stand the constant drip of a faucet let alone voices and noises from another world.  And on top of that, the voices and noises do not make sense, not like a normal conversation between two people. I cannot even imagine. While the illness can attack in the ages of 30's & 40's, late teens and early 20's is when schizophrenia most often strikes.  In John's case, it hit when he was barely in his 20's.  There are some theories that a traumatic event can trigger the illness - for John, I believe this was the case.  How do you think you'd react if, after nearly 6 years you were told your father was dead & that he killed himself. And imagine you thought your parents were merely divorced all those years - which is devastating in and of itself to a child - and that your father was living someplace in Cleveland, Ohio.  And imagine this information coming to you from someone other than your mother, or any family member for that matter -  a stranger. And imagine you're far from home when you get this information and that you're in a place where you cannot come and go freely, to just get on a plane or bus and go home to talk things over with................ someone, anyone.  And, imagine you've just joined the Air Force and then you're given this devastating news.  And this................. was the "traumatic event" that changed my brother's life..................forever.  I have to go now 'cause I'm upset.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Tragic End........

for John came on a bitter cold January day in 1972, the 19th, when he committed suicide by jumping off the Triborough Bridge (now the Robert F. Kennedy) in New York City. Triborough is a collection of 3 bridges actually, connecting the burroughs of Manhattan, Queens & The Bronx through Randall's & Ward's Island - he was found washed ashore on Ward's Island.  I've tried to figure just how high this bridge is but mathematics is not my  strong suit............... I'm sure it is quite high. I cannot even imagine what kind of mental or emotional state a person must be in to think jumping off a bridge, or whatever form of suicide, is the answer.  They (whoever "they" are) say that suicide is a selfish way to die, leaving behind loved ones with no answer to the question, "why?"  I disagree completely.  In my brother's case, he was diagnosed schizophrenic and I can only guess that he was in some type of psychotic moment, heard voices, couldn't stand the pain, and didn't see any other way out.  One must consider the state of mind of the person and  understand that someone in the throes of great depression, or whatever mental ailment consumes them, they are not thinking of anyone or anything, they're not even thinking of themselves, not really.  Their main, and only, objective is to stop the emotional pain they are feeling; they see no other way and, in most instances, don't even realize that what they're about to do is permanent, irreversible, no coming back.  Nope, there's no turning back, no "take 2" and no changing your mind.   From the time of his death in1972 to November 2009, I thought (as did the entire family when they were still living) that John was murdered - the police told me as much in 1972 - "homicide".  Well, apparently not, and you can imagine my surprise when I finally received documentation last year stating the contrary - "suicide".  Either form of death, homicide or suicide, is awful but it breaks my heart even more to know he chose to take his own life - and in such a way, oh my god!  His poor little body was battered and bruised, broken bones and fractured skull, to name just a few injuries. I can only guess he dove off that bridge because there were no lower body injuries, no broken bones, no fractures, nothing, and all injuries were to his upper body and face. Gruesome and graphic, yes, but this is death in the worst scenario and, for me, I simply must know all the details.   He was wearing blue "dungarees", a yellow shirt, green socks, brown lace up shoes and brown "suit" jacket - poor thing, the outfit sounds horrid - and he was wearing his black horn-rimmed glasses, the kind "Clark Kent" wore.  If only he was Superman and could have flown above & over that bridge.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quote for the (my) day............

Try to be alive, you will be dead soon enough.
William Saroyan (1908-1981)

Monday, March 8, 2010

It is so true.....................

"Death is a tragic thing if you haven't lived".  Tyler Perry's "The Family That Preys" 2008.  And therein lies the tragedy of John's death - he never got the chance to live.  My heart breaks for him.................or is it my own lack of living I grieve?  Another question for another time.

Friday, March 5, 2010

John's Brief Life on Earth.............

............I firmly believe must not and cannot be for naught.  He did matter but all too late was he recognized, especially by his family.  It's my mission to correct that major error in my own life. I was talking to a friend last night, telling her bits and pieces of our lives as brother & sister (which incidentally didn't really exist at all) and I realized just how raw a deal he was given. By no means is he exclusive- there are hundreds of thousands whose lives did not turn out right, who died way too young or, worse, died before they were even born, but those stats do not negate the fact that John had a uniqueness and that uniqueness was and is a loss to many, now that he is  physically gone for good!  I feel the loss of John much more now than I ever did, and I'm learning more about him as the days pass.  Some good memories, some not-so-good, but's so true, we cannot know where we are going if we do not know from where we came.  Tough road sometimes but, hey, gotta do it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A few facts.................

John was born in a little town in Germany on October 23, 1947 and he died in a big city known as the "Big Apple" on January 1972. His life in between was not always an easy one but he lived it the best way he knew how, of this I'm certain. He was the typical older brother and I the typical younger sister - always pestering him, wanting to hang out with him and he always wanting to be with his friends but having to "watch my [his] little sister" - I can still hear him calling down to his friends in the street telling them so - I was 5 and he was nearly 12. I didn't know much about my older brother only that he was a loner much of the time, keeping to himself, thinking his thoughts and probably plotting what he would do when he grew up - isn't that what all little kids do? Time went by and we both grew up, at least physically. Family circumstances did not allow my brother and me to live together continuously or to really get to know one another as I believe siblings should get to know one another, or at least in my "Leave it to Beaver" mind's thinking. Little did I know no such family as the "Beav's" existed. I mean, what mother cleaned house wearing pearls? We grew up in the mid-west - Cleveland (and various suburbs of), Ohio and before I knew it, he was in high school, graduating from Hollywood High School in Hollywood, California - how he got there from Cleveland is a whole 'nother story for another time. He joined the Air Force, served for a couple of years and was honorably discharged for medical reasons - diagnosed a schizophrenic to be exact. After being discharged he went to junior college, majoring in journalism - I have many of his school papers with A's & B's awarded to all; contrary to popular belief, schizophrenics can & do function and are highly intelligent people. My brother was one of the beginning. One fine day in May 1971, probably during one of his psychotic episodes, he up and left for NYC, a place he always wanted to visit. He never came back!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thought for the (my) day.............

It occurred to me the loss of John's life in 1972 brought new meaning into mine in 2009 and..............continuing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why...........after so many years...........

There may be some who wonder "why, after so many years" my brother, John, has become such an important part of my life now.  Well, it's a wonder to me actually and I don't really have an answer that would make sense to anyone except, perhaps, John. Things happen in life, time passes, the world revolves around ourselves (or so we think) and before you know it, 20, 30, 40 years have gone by.  While I did question............a lot, I don't anymore.  I believe the spirit of John has done all the work so that I may finally see him, feel him, recognize him and get to know him better; and, I believe he no longer wanted to be wandering around the after-life, alone, scared and feeling unloved, uncared for, and given very little thought.  That's it, that simple!  Circumstances present themselves for reasons and it's up to us, when presented, whether we take note or, like we've probably always done, ignore them.  This time around, I chose to "take note" for the circumstsances were so strong, so telling, that I would have not only been the fool but, more importantly, missed out on so many experiences, feelings, growth.  For you, the reader, to understand a little of how, why and when, the ending will be the beginning.................of so much.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So, I Begin..............Another Journey

This blog is dedictated, totally and completely, to the memory, and life, of my brother, John.  It's a journey I have chosen to be on, difficult as it may be from time to time, and I'd like to share him with you, the reader - he deserves to be shared with the world! As we go along, and I hope you will join me,  I wish for you to take something away from the experience of knowing, learning and have I.

Monday, January 18, 2010

This is Dedicated...............

It will be 38 years tomorrow -  January 19, 1972 -  that my beloved brother, John, left this earth.  He was barely 24 years of age. This Blog will be devoted and dedicated to him.  And, although not here in body, he is here in spirit and he will know.  In fact, he has been inspiring me now for a year; yup, pretty much 365 days now, poking me in the back, putting me in positions I never thought I'd be in, and pushing me to continue. As time goes on, you will learn about him, his life, his death;  you will learn about my journey on his behalf.  And, lastly, but most importantly, you will learn (I hope) that it is never too late to get to know a loved one................long after they've gone on to other unknown worlds.