So I was thinking about my younger brother. People who know me, know the story. Let me share it with those of you who don't.
February 2, 2007. It was a Friday evening, around 6pm. I was at work and excited for the weekend. I had about 30 minutes left in my shift and I was on the phone with a customer. As I was finishing up with my customer, my cell phone began to vibrate. I glanced down at my hip and noticed my mother's number flashing across the screen. I remember thinking to myself, "Now why is she calling me? She knows I'm at work and I get off soon!" I decided I'd call her when I got off work, which at this point, was in less than 30 minutes. Another customer call came in and as I was completing that call, my cell phone started to vibrate again. My initial reaction was annoyance, but then I felt a pang of worry and decided to go out in the hall and call my mother back. My mother answered the phone sounding pretty normal. I asked her what was up. She said my name and my heart began to race. Though she hadn't said it yet, I KNEW something was wrong. Then, she said, "He gone, he gone. Cheryce, he gone." I began to panic and ask her who, "Mama who's gone??!" She proceeded to tell me that my little brother, Donvielle, had been killed in a car accident. Even as I type, it's difficult because all the feelings from that day, that moment, are coming back...It's a day, a time, a period in my life that will be impossible to forget and it changed my life forever.
I'll spare you the the details of my reaction and my parents', especially my mother's, overwhelming despair. You can probably imagine the void my baby brother felt after having his hero suddenly snatched away. I won't talk about how it felt to have memories of changing my brother's diapers and rocking him to sleep while picking out his casket and writing his obituary. 19 years old, on the way to get a haircut before work, and then. Just. Gone.
That night, that week, that month, I reflected on different things that occurred leading up to that day, attempting to make sense of it all. I wondered why it happened and questioned how God could let it. I thought about how, maybe a week or so before, Don had driven me to a friend's house. When we got there, he came in behind me and stood in the doorway, looking around. I recall asking him what he was doing and telling him that my friend's brother, who he was friends with, wasn't there. I don't remember his response, but I know I thought how strange it was for him to come in with me and then stand there like that. Even after I told him his friend wasn't there, he kept standing and looking, like it was his first time seeing it or like he knew it was the last time he would. On January 31st, Don gave my mother and me Valentine's day gifts. It was the first time he had ever done that. My mother and I were so surprised and grateful. I asked him why he had given us the gift so early and he said that he might not have any money when V-Day came around. I said, "We get paid again before Valentine's Day". I knew this because we got paid the same week, Don on Wednesday, while my payday was Friday. He just kind of shrugged it off. That would be the last day I'd see my brother alive. Thinking of those two instances made me think about whether or not he knew he was going to die. I wondered if he had some sort of premonition letting him know that something was about to happen.
The same night that Don gave us those gifts, I had a dream. In the dream, we were at the funeral of one our church members, the mother of one of Don's really good friends. Don wasn't there. Somebody asked where he was and voiced their surprise at him not being there. About a month after his death, the woman whose funeral I dreamed of, passed away. In my dream, Don wasn't there because he left us first...
I still don't understand the why. I had a couple theories. Maybe he would have gotten involved with the wrong crowd or been in the wrong place at the wrong time, resulting in his life wasting away behind bars. It's possible that he could have died by the hands of a cowardly police officer. Perhaps he would have been an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of rival gangs. Maybe God allowed Don to go the way he did to spare us the devastation of each of those scenarios. Or could it be that He just cared about my brother so much that He'd rather him be in heaven with Him, than endure any of those severely earth shattering events? I stopped trying to figure it out...well, maybe not completely. Sometimes I STILL wonder why... What I DO know is: