Reflection

Dear Dan,

I have been reflecting on yesterday’s election and those of years past. There are several reasons I’m sorry you aren’t here for this moment in history.

First for the obvious – you aren’t here and you should be. Period.

Second – for all the work you did for the Democratic party. All the work you did for Joe, Clinton, McGovern, all candidates, local and national.

Third – you were a supporter for Jesse Jackson back in the day. You had the right idea but the wrong candidate. Jesse was in the crowd last night, weeping for joy. Even though Jesse and Barack had issues, there is still so much for Jesse to be proud of in his fight along the way.

McCain was gracious in defeat and I can see the attitude and spirit that made me respect him even though I don’t agree with him.

Barack, Michelle and the children are going to be an amazing representation of our country.

And Dan, when you talk to Toot, please tell her how much mom and I adore her grandson. Please tell her we’re sorry she isn’t here as well.

I love you, bro.

The Black Hand

Dear Dan,

I was talking to a co-worker today about how her daughter gets wet in the grass while playing outside in the morning. None of the other kids have the same problem.

I remembered something I haven’t thought of in ages. When we were kids mom always knew when you had been somewhere. There was always a black hand print. No matter how clean your hands looked or how often you washed your hands, there was always a black hand print. Our own little bit of the Cosa Nostra was what mom said.

We would send birthday or Christmas cards to the cousins or Grandmother and Granddad. We always signed our names. You always put a black thumbprint and there was never any question that you had given your stamp of approval.

Speaking of Christmas and birthday cards, you always had me rolling on the floor with the cards you sent. I looked forward to the cards or a postcard when you travelled. You always found something hilarious.

You have no idea how much I miss that.

From my “myspace” page on July 26, 2007

“Daniel, My Brother
Current mood: gutted, devastated
To my dear brother:

I miss you. All the color has gone out of the world; the music has stopped and all laughter has ceased. My heart has been shattered. I know your pain is over. I wish you peace.

My pain has just begun and will have no end.”

Dear Dan,

I wrote that the “day after.” I still feel that way. There are days where I almost forget that you’re no longer in this world; when I feel like I can pick up the phone and call. Then it all comes crashing back.

I used to call for advice. Since I can no longer do that I think back to the time I did and then ask myself “What would Dan say about this?” I fee calm come over me and then I can look at the situation with reason and logic.

Other days it’s still completely overwhelming. I can’t help but wonder how we got here.

I love you. I miss you. I pray you find peace. I hope you have already.

The back story

On July 25, 2007 Dan had a friend drive him to a bar in downtown Kansas City. At about 10:30 PM local time, Dan got out of the car, waited for the driver to pull away and walked about 15 minutes to a parking garage. On the top level – the seventh floor – Dan climbed on the wall and jumped.

At 5:00 AM the police came to mom’s door and notified her. She called me and said the police were there looking for Dan. I lived at the back of her condo building so I told her I would be there right away. I grabbed my phone, called Dan and got his voicemail. I left a message saying the police were there, please call ASAP and asking “What the hell are you into? Let me know what I can do to help.”

There was a knock on my door. A police woman was there. I told her to come on in while I grabbed my shoes. She came in and told me she had something to tell me before we went to mom’s. That’s when she told me Dan jumped. I looked at her and waited. She didn’t say anything. I asked “Is he alive?” I was expecting to hear he was in the hospital in KC and in my mind I was already making plans to take care of him. The police woman said “No.”

And that, my friends, is when the world crashed to a halt.

It still amazes me that no one else heard the crashing sound. No one else felt the earth slam on its brakes. How is it that people were still asleep and didn’t know the world ended?

For the past 14 months I’ve been dealing with this loss and all the emotion and legal issues that accompany death. Sometimes well and sometimes not.

This is my life with and without Dan.