I wish I had answered… laying on the couch half asleep when the call came in from Rhett. Listened to the voicemail the next morning. And thought to myself. I will call him soon. I’ll call him for sure after Tim deploys. Maybe he’ll come live down here this summer, maybe he needs some words of support. I won’t forget to call back. But i did forget.
A couple weeks flew by before i knew it.
Then i got an email on my phone as I was standing against Tims kitchen counter. I checked it- it was a message on facebook from one of Rhetts friends. Upon first glance i read that he didn’t know if i remembered him but he was Rhetts friend from OKC (i immediatley remembered he and his girlfriend- they were nice people we hung out with when i went up to visit the guys on my way back home in the fall of 09.)
i thought it was weird. i THOUGHT it said i needed to call RHETT. SO i paced the lviing room a bit and then decided i should call. That seemed urgent. Maybe he was sick, or having another back surgery, or just needed me for some deep life discussion. So i went back to the message in my email… and clicked ont he phone number he linked… as i did so i realized it said. “I’m Rhetts friend, LANCE needs to speak to you”
Lance. That didn’t make sense. I met him THROUGH Rhett, and hadn’t talked to him since that summer.
He didn’t make me wait long. Jenn- Rhett’s gone. He said it in this calm voice that must have taken every ounce of his being…he knew what those words would do. He stayed calm the whole time as i lost my mind… cried till i choked. Tried to breathe calmly and ask questions I needed answers to. We talked for a while, he said comforting things to me. And then we hung up. And i literally cried almost non-stop for the next 5 hours, and off and on the entire next day- it would just hit me out of the blue and i would be sobbing again.
In the following days many friends said to me with great love “there was nothing you could have done.”
I don’t believe that.
End of story. I never will. I will never think that if i had called him back and gotten to talk to him that i couldn’t have saved him from this fate. You won’t ever convince me that my little brother wouldn’t have listened to me. That just as before my words of encouragment couldn’t or wouldn’t pull him from the fire. because i loved him so much. and he knew that- thats why he called, reached out. And i failed as a friend. I should have remembered to call back. That is my burden to bear now. I only wish i could have taken some of his burden when he was here, and helped him walk on.
He was an amazing man. He would have continued being so. He was a pheniox. And now he is an angel.
I’m glad to know you are up there watching over me kiddo. I won’t forget you. And i will keep right on living for us both- minus the guitar skills.
I love you. Your big sis,