Daily Prompt: I Did it My Way
by Krista on February 11, 2014
Describe the one decision in your life where you wish you could get a “do-over.” Tell us about the decision, and why you’d choose to take a different path this time around.
There are many decisions I have made, in the past, that I wish I could do over again. There is one that I will choose. This decision was made when I was 13-years-old. It is one that was the most traumatic. I’m still suffering and working through the PTSD that was left after my decision. I have written some about this event, but I will tell you a little more now.
My dad, mom, little brother, and I were at one of my dad’s sisters home. It was a Sunday; December 3, 1972. My dad is one of seven children, and several of them, and their families, had gathered at my aunt’s home that day.
I was seven years old when my little brother was born. I had the responsibility of looking after him, because my mom was often in bed, for days at a time, with her nerves.
On this particular day, there was nine of us cousins, and we were sent to the back bedrooms to play. It was decided that the boys would play in one bedroom and the girls in the other. My little brother was six-years-old and had just started 1st grade that year. He was attached to me, most of the time, and that day he was clinging. He didn’t want to go play with the boys, he wanted to stay with me. The other cousins were calling him names; ‘Baby’, ‘Sissy’, etc… I loved him and didn’t want to part from him either, but I kept talking to him and eventually he went to play with the boys.
There was barely a minute passed when we heard a loud bang. I thought someone had set off some fireworks, but people were running everywhere, some crying. I started walking toward the living room, where my mom was, but my aunt’s pushed me back out and shut the door. I did get a glimpse of my mom laying on the couch, crying and tossing about, with some of my aunt’s standing over her.
I walked back to the kitchen and stood there, not knowing where to go or what to do, and no idea of what had happened. One of my uncle’s walked through the kitchen and I asked him what was going on. “Your little brother has been shot,” he replied as he walked out the door.
I was stunned; shocked. I walked back into the bedrooms and looked in the one where the boys had been playing. My little brother was on the bed and my dad was laying on top of him sobbing. My grandfather was sitting in a chair by the bed. He shook his head and motioned for me to go back out of the room.
The next thing I remember was being in the car with my grandfather, grandmother, and a couple of my aunt’s. My grandfather pulled into the funeral home and I started screaming at him. “Why are you stopping here? My little brother is not dead, he is at the hospital! We need to go to the hospital!” I screamed over and over until my grandfather cranked the car and headed to the hospital.
I remember seeing my mom on a gurney in the hospital, but no sign of my little brother. Then there is a big blank space that I can’t remember. I do remember that we were all back at my grandfather and grandmother’s home. My mom and dad were laying in a bed. She was still crying and my dad was trying to soothe her.
I still cannot recall who or when someone told me what had happened. Supposedly, the boys were playing with a shotgun that hung on the wall in my aunt and uncle’s bedroom. They thought the gun was empty, but my uncle had loaded it several days before, because someone had been stealing gas out of his car at night.
One of my cousins had already taken the shotgun from the wall and when my little brother walked into the room, my cousin pointed the gun at him and shot him. When he realized the gun was loaded and he had hurt my little brother he ran out the door and several of my uncle’s went searching for him. They found him out in the fields, down on his knees and beating his head on the ground.
My grandfather said that my little brother was already dead by the time he and my father got to the room.
I don’t remember much about the funeral, but my mom was lost for months, under the influence of lots of Valium.
If I had not made him go into the bedroom with the boys, if I had just held him in my arms, I don’t know if anything would have changed, but that is what I would do if I could go back and “do-over” that day.