Today there is an extra lump of emotion in my throat. One year ago today, my mom called me late, late, late in the evening. I used to never leave my phone on, but for some reason when I went to bed that night, I did. We were in the process of moving from Tampa to Huntsville. Kristen and Josie had already moved to start school, and I was home alone.
The call was from my mother. Waking up from a deep sleep – I remember saying this:
Me – “Hello”
Mom – “Lane, are you there? Are you awake? Can you hear me okay?”
Me – “Hang on – mom? Is that you?
Mom – “Lane, are you listening?”
Me – (finally realizing this conversation is really happening, and i’m not dreaming) “Yes – yes – i’m awake, what’s going on? What happened?” (No good phone calls come at this hour)
I started going through my mind – what could have happened? Is it dad? Is he okay?
Mom – “Lane – it’s Marty, he’s had another heart attack.”
Me – (before reality set in) – “Oh now, is he okay?”
Mom – “Lane, he’s gone. He didn’t make it”
This moment will play in my head for the rest of my life. There I was alone, 12 hours away from the people who needed me most. I called my wife, weeping. All we could do was weep.
I came home two days later. Through some very helpful friends who helped expedite the funds to get a plane ticket home, I was able to be with family sooner rather than later.
My father hadn’t been able to talk to me yet. He was just too overwhelmed. My mother became a solid rock in that moment.
I got home, my brother-in-law picked me up at the airport. When we pulled in to the homestead in Lebanon, I walked up that familiar back sidewalk, into the backporch, into the house. My dad saw me, and we couldn’t speak. We both knew what we wanted to say, but we just couldn’t.
My brother, his son, was gone. And the worst part about it for both of us was that when Marty passed, he was alone. He had been out for an evening walk.
Marty – we miss you. Never has there been a more classic #7 on the Enneagram than my brother. (#7s are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences.)
Never have I known a bigger goober than you. Being 8 years older than me, I looked up to you in a unique way. But I can honestly say I’ve never known anyone who didn’t like you. You brought a smile, even if it was awkward,. to everyone.