Eight beers

Next day. I head to work, resolved that I’m going to put the discovery of the movie flier behind me. And I make it through a pretty large portion of the day immersed in discovery, research, emails and setting interviews. I’ve been covering Education for five years now. Wow. That’s something. I’ve finally reached the ranks of those with “five years experience.”
Even still, there is a lot to learn and understand. Things are always changing, but there are those essentials that haven’t changed. Schools are still trying to provide the best education they can for the least amount of money, and no one can agree what that best education should be.
Around three o’clock, I started getting that feeling that a nice nap would be in order. But I live in Kansas. When the rest of the country determines that a mid-afternoon nap is a way of efficiently getting the highest quality production out of labor possible, then Kansas may adopt the practice. In the mean time, I’ll rely on coffee. I grabbed a cup of coffee, and decided to check the social media register to see what’s happening in my area and around the world–see if there is anything that requires greater scrutiny. Often, you hear what’s happening in the local school system first that way. But at the top of my facebook page, there is a post from my mother. She has posted on another facebook page, a group page created for a family from St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The family is entering the tragic tunnel we entered seven months ago. A father and his son, a senior in high school, went missing over a week ago in the Echo Lake area near Idaho Springs, Colorado, and the Search and Rescue team has called off the search. There is a critical time, when a rescue becomes a recovery, where a family begins to have to face the reality that the vibrant, wonderful people they love are now gone, victims of some unknown circumstances, and they have to begin the agonizing wait for their loved ones to be “happened upon.”
It’s truly awful. There are those that pray you’ll find closure. And there are times when you think you’ve received some semblance of closure, because you’ve never really experienced this sort of thing, and you don’t really know what closure is for you. What will be the closure. Do you need a body to finally have it? And what if that body is never found? The thoughts that pass through your mind for the days, weeks, and God forbid, months after range from the truly morbid to the hopeful and sometimes even religiously mystical. It’s just what happens.
I clicked on the link to the story–Denver news station–tragic story. And I read the numerous comments left on my mother’s post, and I scroll back through the multitude of prayers and wishes and support to the family, and I can barely keep the tears from rolling down my face as I do. I’m at my desk, at work, and I should be working on something else. And then, my daughter walks in. She’s there to talk to my boss about watching his dogs this weekend. She sees my face. She’s now more interested in what I’m looking at on my computer screen, but I swallow hard, and tell her it’s nothing, and I put on my “everything is normal, there’s nothing wrong,” mask, and I rush her into his office, and I push aside the feelings again. And I keep them away for the rest of the afternoon. I’m able to once again focus, for a short time, telling myself that there are other people out there experiencing probably even more pain than I am, that things could be much worse, and that I have to pull myself out of the past and live in the moment.
That night, after I’m done running around, tying up the loose ends on my daughter’s prom preparations, I sit down to the computer again. It’s national siblings day, the posts on Facebook claim. There are photos of siblings together, posted by many of my friends. I don’t recall if I have a good photo of me with both of my brothers, but then I remember the best memory of all, and it’s recent. They were both with me, walking me down the aisle at my wedding two years ago. I post that photo.
I grab another of my brother’s beers. Number eight. And I sit down on my sofa, and I lose myself in an episode of Criminal Minds, closing my eyes when I sip the beer, marveling in how it is alive, and how it is the last living thing left of my brother, and soon they’ll be gone, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Nothing, not brothers, not beer, lives forever. And we need to savor it.


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