Tuesday, May 22, 2007


This is not going to be very eloquent, because it is raw.

Last Friday evening, I left therapy, having talked about my childhood friend Ray, who I heard a couple years ago had been murdered, and on impulse I went back to my old neighborhood in Richmond. I had driven through a bunch of times, but had never stopped.

Driving in, I felt the old Fear stirring up, and that fear is something that defies description. It is a fear that surrounds your mind with darkness. When you feel this fear, your mind is in a state of expecting annihilation, a feeling that you can at any moment be killed, and that your killer will feel no pity at all, no empathy.

PTSD is, to be blunt, a B*tch and a half.

I was going there because I had never heard the whole story of the circumstances of Ray's death, and I needed to know. I felt I owed it to him somehow.

Driving through the old 'hood, I saw people walking in a daze, shellshocked, numb with grief and rage. I saw a man standing in his yard, his face so haunted by grief and loss that he could no longer process the pain.

I pulled up in front of Ray's old house, not sure of what I was going to do - Do I ask around and see if anyone knows about Ray? I thought - and there in his driveway, sitting in a car talking with a friend who had given her a ride home, was his mother.

I had not seen her in 30 years, but I knew it was her.

I walked up, and told her who I was, and after a moment of suspicion by her, she recognized me. I had come to ask about Ray, but suddenly it seemed crude to do so directly, so I told her about my family ("Dad passed back in '96...oh, and remember how John always wanted to work for the phone company? Yeah, he's working for them now..."). I was creating a space where she could tell me about her own family.

She said, "Ray is working at Sears now..." and the next few sentences were lost to my hearing. Then she said, "Yeah, his brother's passing has been hard on him..." and I knew that the person who had told me about the murder had gotten a critical detail wrong: which brother had been murdered.

I have been thinking of Ray lately, remembering his smile, all the trouble we caused our parents, how he was probably the best friend I had back in the day; how, of all the people I knew in the old 'hood, he deserved to be murdered even less than everyone else.

And now I have him back. I have some sense of how the disciples felt at the resurrection. Thanks be to God.

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