I went for a run tonight in the Emeralda Marsh. One hour with me, my running shoes, a bunch of alligators and my thoughts.
Tonight I thought of Becky.
I was always very close to my cousin Becky. We literally grew up together. I can remember looking forward to seeing all my family at holidays and summer barbeques but it was Becky who I most enjoyed spending time with. She was special. She was always the one that people wanted to be around. She was a really good kid.
When I went to college in 1991 one of the first letters I received in my little mailbox down stairs at my dorm was a nice letter on pink stationary from my cousin Becky. We always stayed in touch.
As the years went by and I was finishing college she was starting going through school herself. She was one of the first people that I had an “IM” chat with. I can still vividly remember sitting in my first apartment that I lived in after college chatting about each other’s lives and dreams. She was looking forward to finishing college and she had finally quit smoking. Life was good for her. She was going to graduate. The world was waiting…
Becky was a free spirit; a fun girl. I’m sure she partied a little bit. Maybe she experimented a little bit. She was an artist. This is what artists do. She was a GREAT artist.
Life had gotten busy for me. I was going to be a dad and was getting married. Becky was so excited for me. I was excited for her to meet my son; he was due arrive in a few short months. Life was full of joy and hope.
I’ll never forget the shock I felt when I read those words.
I was chatting with my brother Dan. His words that came on the screen are still seared into my consciousness.
“Did you hear about Becky?”
“No. What about Becky?”
For a moment that stood still I read the line again and then again…. really? This…isn’t….
The tears came and they came violently. I wailed like a 2 year old. My pregnant fiancé tried to console me but she could not. I was devastated and beyond consolation.
I was 27 years old and I had never experienced death before. I was going to be a dad. I was going to be a husband. My cousin Becky was dead at 22 years old.
The next week was a blur. I went to work. I tried to function. I did my best. Every day I went for a run. I thought about Becky. I thought about the grief of her poor father who had to remove her cap and gown from the closet of her dorm room. Becky would never graduate. Becky would never have a kid. Becky would never get married. Becky would never…
The viewing and the funeral were the next week. It was awful. I remember embracing my brother Craig and my cousin Erin in a three way bear hug. We cried like there were unlimited tears.
We hurt so badly. We mourned for our lost Becky. We mourned for her parents. We mourned for ourselves.
I was the oldest of the cousins. The rest looked to me for guidance. I had nothing but tears to give.
Seeing her there in the open casket was surreal. She was there but her life was not. She didn’t smile. She didn’t say something witty. She didn’t give any hugs.
Her dad stood up and bravely gave a tribute to her memory. He was such a proud father and did such a good job. Sadly her little sister had run off with some guy and wasn’t anywhere to be found. She missed the funeral and didn’t find out that her sister was dead till weeks later. Becky’s parents stayed together for a good number of years but sadly they eventually divorced. It was such a sad time.
One day a beautiful, friend, cousin, daughter… is there; then one day she simply doesn’t wake. What a horrifically sad part of my life.
Becky Flory died 11 years ago today. I will always love her and hold a special place in my heart for her.
I miss you and think of you everyday Becky. Please take care of my Dad when he gets there. It won’t be long now…
By the way, Becky, my son Colby who was born just 3 months after you died is absolutely amazing. I am so sorry you never got to meet him….