Derek, Our Last GoodBye, Peek for Peeps

Derek 2July 5,2000John has just left via his bicycle for work. It’s a gorgeous day and I have a few appointments with Crabtree accounts. It is Wednesday. The previous weekend one of my brothers and his family were in Ottawa visiting us . We had the opportunity to meet his new Bride to be. Between them they have 8 children. All is well , so I think. The phone rings. That dame phone again. It is 9:00am. Funny how you remember the day , that time , that exact moment when life stands still, all is in slow motion. God ,why are the birds singing? ,you ask yourself as your sister says through her crying voice,’Lillian , we have lost Derek.” What are you talking about? I just left him a phone message last evening to sing him happy birthday. I was not in town for his birthday on the 26th of June and forgot over the weekend while our other brother was here. What do you mean we lost him I repeat? Through her sobs I am able to understand what she is crying about , “Derek has hung himself.” God,oh God , she repeats , Why? My first question to her is how, where? and then,” how is Mom and Dad”. My family use to live in Alberta, Fort McMurry to be exact. The place where salt water cowboy’s live. That’s what they call Newfoundland’s who moved there. My family had been residing in that town since 1978. It is also known as Fort McMoney. I need the logistics of what I am hearing from her. I am to dumb or numb , I am not sure but I do not want to feel this. There is only 18 months between Derek and I . I being the oldest left home at barley 19 yrs. . I loved him but we were not close enough to understand or talk about each other’s pain or difficulties. I do remember him coming into my bedroom as I was changing from my wedding dress , Oct 4th , 1974 to put on my dress for reception. I remember him telling me how happy he was for me, John was a great guy, I remember how sad I felt for him that he had to stay here in this house. I remember him calling me when I was in a trailer in 1995 . He was the only one in my family who knew I had left for a few months. (that’ in another Day) I remember him giving me courage. Courage was something Dereck had plenty of but it was unbeknownst to him. The last time I saw him was July 1998. John and I had taken a trip out west, flew into Calgary, rented a car and drove to BC. Our last day of holiday, we were at the park in Didsbury which Mom and Dad looked after for the summer months. Derek was camping with his trailer, something he loved. Camping, nature and cowboy hats. That was our Dereck. That morning before we left for airport I went to say goodbye to my brother. Little did I know it was my last goodbye. As I was kissing him farewell, I said” My God,Derek , you look like you are in such physical pain.” . His reply, “Lillian , I am always in pain.” It was in that moment, that moment as the sun was rising, the scent of dew on the grass , the bird to my left, I finally understood his drinking. It hit with such a bolt that I started to cry. He thought I was crying because I did not want to leave, I was crying that I was unable to see. Derek was born with one leg longer than the other, a curve in his spine, Scoliosis. I have mini scoliosis . Something else that runs in the family. I will tell you my theory on that later. His courage when he was a child from my point of view made him a hero. He was always in braces of some kind. Frequently  making trips to St John’s hospital. One time he had a plaster cast from his chest down. I think he was around 10 yrs of age at that time. Remember, we were children but from my child’s prospective, I cannot ever remember him complaining. EVER. My other siblings ,I am sure they would have their own story and prospective. I do however remember his anger. When he was young his anger was not outward, but there was always something  I could see and feel but  could not identity. I wrote about it yrs later in a journal. I wrote  how he and Melanie , there was something so similar about them. Now I know it was inner anger not expressing itself. It would have been  a slow burn inside of them, their low self worth, low self esteem .It is a fire waiting to ignite. . But I did not know that many years ago .It is not a coincidence  that they both took their lives in the same way. A Hanging. . Hanging on to things, not feeling free to express and if they did because of their anger, nobody would listen. I remember him mowing the lawn dragging his foot. Dad was not going to raise him any differently than the rest of us so he had chores also. In fact, I was usually protecting