Friday, July 17, 2009

The Speech

The following is my speech from Calvin’s funeral. A few things to keep in mind, I do not do public speaking because I tend to get nose bleeds then throw up. My Mum told me I could not cry because she could not handle it. I managed to make it through the entire thing without as much as a single tear, drop of blood, or even so much as a gag and I did not once loose consciousness (that I know of).

This past week, I’ve thought a lot about my brother. I’ve remembered wild stunts, crazy stories, long lost friends and enemies, and I’ve finally gotten the back story on so many jokes. But I sadly realized just how little I really knew about my own brother. We had our rough patches growing up. It’s inevitable when you are as close as we were. But as we got older, the petty childhood bickering faded into the past, and we would talk more. Never about anything serious or deep, just about day to day life and our kids. We would talk for hours about nothing at all, but somehow the conversation would always get back to his girls.

Cal loved children, especially his girls. They are his pride and joy. The true loves of his life, and he would do anything for them. The last time I went to see him, he showed me a playhouse he had built for Gabby. It was wonderful! It had real windows, a light inside, and a little covered porch. It was a masterpiece and a perfect example of his talent. He had built it from scraps of this and leftovers of that. Gabby was so proud of the little house that her daddy had built, she couldn’t wait to show it off. That was one thing she definitely got from her daddy, Pride.

Cal was always so proud of his family and friends. He loved everyone, and it was almost impossible not to love him back. Don’t get me wrong. There were times when you really weren’t happy with him, but you always loved him, and you knew that he always loved you too. He was always ready with a good strong hug. A “Love ya, Sis.” Mum says he always gave the best hugs, and it’s true. He could have taught a class on it. They were always just right.

Though we talked now and then on the phone, it was always in the back of my mind, “I should call Cal and see what he’s up to,” but it would get put off. There were errands to run, chores to do. My regret is that I didn’t make the time to call my little brother more often, just to say “Hi”. I let life get in the way.

Last week things changed. Priorities were shifted. Despite the prayers of thousands, God felt it was time for Calvin to come home. Friday morning he slipped peacefully through the gates into the arms of loved ones who had gone before him. They will be catching up on all those wonderful hugs that I'm sure they missed.

I know the full reality of this has not hit me yet. It may not for a while. But I also know that someday I too will pass through those gates, as we all will, and Cal will be there, arms open, ready to give me one of his wonderful hugs.

Calvin William Allen Skinner
August 11, 1980-April 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It has been several weeks since I’ve posted on either of my blogs. A lot has gone down in that time. Easter weekend, my little brother was in a car accident. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in his death, but his passing was not in vain. His wish was organ donation, and through his gift, others will have a better life.

I’ve had a hard time dealing with this, and have never wished more to be closer to my family. You see, they live in Pennsylvania, and I'm way out here in Iowa. That’s three states. Nineteen hours by train. Twelve hours by car. Five hours by plane. An eternity if someone is hurt.

I haven’t posted about this for “so many reasons”.

Jeopardy is on.
I'm too busy.
It’s too late at night.
Letterman’s on.
Craig has Eric Idle tonight.
Makaya has her dance recital tonight.
Mum’s in town, have to spend as much time with her as I can.

All the while, I was unwilling to face the main reason.
If I don’t talk about it, it never happened. I can push it to the back of my mind, and pretend it was a dream.


Pure as fresh snow.

There have been dreams. Nightmares really.

Doubts. Did we make the right choice? Did we act too soon? Should we have given him more time?

Unanswered questions. Did he know what was going on? Did he know we were there? Did he know how much we all love him? Did he suffer at all? Was he scared? Who will care for him? Is there a heaven or hell? Why did it happen to him? Was there someone else involved? Why now when he was so young? What do we say to his girls? Did he know I love him? Did he know how sorry I am?

There are ok days where I only think of him in passing and the loss doesn’t fully register.

There are not so good days where I cry without realizing it, and have to answer my daughter’s concerned questions with vague assurances that “No, Mama’s not hurt sweetie.”

Then there are the bad days. The days where I have to hold my self together, wrapping my arms around my body. I have to squeeze tightly because I'm afraid I will shatter into a thousand tiny shards if I don’t. The days where I sit in bed and rock myself in an effort to soothe an injury that refuses to heal. The days where my heart quite literally aches, each beat a painful reminder of the one that is now forever still.

Those are the reasons why I haven’t posted.