My Saving Grace 2 __________________
It’s been 20 years now since my brother Michael died. I remember so well when I used to sit and watch my whole family fall apart. My mother and father would argue a lot, blaming each other for the reason why their first born had died. My little sister, Julie basically just stopped talking, like she lost her voice in the accident. Me on the other hand, I was just alone, I had nobody to talk to, no family, no friends, I had nobody. I had thoughts of running away; I would look outside and see the birds then think to myself, where would I go if I had wings?
One day I was looking out the window, I saw a moving van at the small house across the street. Me being so desperate for a friend, so desperate for someone to talk to, I walked over to introduce myself. It was just a mom and her son, they were white, the only white family in the neighborhood. I introduced myself to the boy, his name was Andrew and like myself he was 9. We became good friends instantly, I would go over his house and he’d sometimes come over to mine but not much because of the constant yelling from my mother and father. I told him he was lucky it was only him and his mom, he didn’t think so. He told me how much he missed his dad and how lucky I was that I had a complete family. I told him what happened to my brother; he told me what happened to his father. His father was a police officer; he was shot while off duty when two men tried robbing him. His body was found in a river. The two men were convicted of first degree murder and imprisoned for life. He and his mom were evicted from their home; they were forced to move to the small house across the street from mine. I held Andrew tightly, how can a 9 year old go through something so traumatizing and yet be the happiest person ever?
Andrew prayed every night, now I’ve never prayed before but I did one night, I prayed for my family to come closer again, I prayed for Julie to talk again and I thanked god for bringing Andrew, the only friend I have into my life. Andrew and his mom would go to church every Sunday; he told me that church is a good way to release the sadness in your life. I thought maybe that was the reason for Andrew being so happy all the time, so I began to tag along with them. I learned a lot at church, everybody there just seemed so happy and free. Every time I go I would feel so happier, I prayed every night and though my parents still argued, I feel like things been better around home. I would share what I’ve learned at church with everyone at the dinner table; there were never any arguments at the dinner table so everyone listened. I told them that church made me happy and that if we went to church together as a family, we would all be happy again. So the following Sunday we all went to church, it’s the first thing we did together since Michael died.
It has been long since my mother and father had argued, Julie has yet to say a word but she’s been smiling a lot. I feel like we’re becoming a family again, I can only thank god and Andrew for that. We’ve been going to church every week, all of us except for Andrew’s mother. She’s been crying a lot lately, Andrew and I just thought she was just going back to grieving about her husband but it’s much more serious than that. She’s been diagnosed with skin cancer and while she’s been getting treated in a nearby hospital, Andrew has been staying at my home. With his mother in the hospital, being treated for cancer, Andrew stills seems like the happiest person. He’s almost certain that she’ll beat it, he say’s if she doesn’t then she was meant to die. He told me that everything happens for a reason, when someone dies, there’s a reason for it and though it may seem unknown, you have to keep living everyday as happy as you can be until it’s your time. I thought about what he said, my brother died for a reason, I may never know that reason but I do believe Andrew moved here because of that reason. I believe Andrew’s purpose is to bring my family closer and that’s what he did, so now I guess it’s time for him to go.
Andrew’s mother died in her sleep, though he did cry, I can tell he’s still that happy person he’s always been. Andrew was put into a foster home almost immediately. We’d write to each other every week until a year later, he never wrote back. I knew he’d never just stop writing to me so I thought maybe he moved far away. 15 years later, I found out he died at 25 in an accident while at war, he got shot by a fellow soldier, wrong place at the wrong time. He told me that he wanted to be like his dad but instead of fighting for the city he wanted to fight for the whole country, I guess going to war was what he wanted. I cried that whole night, holding the picture of me and him when we first went to church together. I’ll miss him a lot but like he told me, “everything happens for a reason”. I’ll never forget him.
I’m 29 years old now and though Andrew is no longer with us, I’ll never forget what he had done for me and my family. He brought us together again; he stopped us from dwelling over the death of my brother and helped us move forward. He showed us that no matter what happens we have to stay happy and live on. If it wasn’t for him, Julie would never speak again. I’d still go to church every week with my family and we all thank Andrew every night we’d pray. I’ll never forget what he told me, everything happens for a reason and though that reason seems unknown, you have to live everyday as happy as you can be. Andrew gave me friendship, something I always wanted and though it was cut short by the death of his mother, he’ll always be my best friend, he’ll always be someone who I can talk to, he’ll always be my saving grace.