Members of my family are gathered at this hour at a funeral home in Winthrop, Massachusetts where the wake for my 19-year-old grandnephew Thomas Bailey is in progress. He died from an apparent overdose of his anti-depression medicine in the early hours of Wednesday, July 13. I got the call from my brother Ron early the next morning.
I should be there. I want to be there. Florida is feeling like a prison at the moment, a place to which I should never have returned for yet another time. But I’m bound to feel that way at a time like this. Brother Bill is infirm and has been laid up for weeks now in a nursing home. His wife is laid up at Boston Medical Center. Brother Doug is in Denver and at 82, with the expense of air travel, could not possibly make it. I could not afford the air travel or even the road travel and lodging. My niece Kathy has flown up from Florida and my niece Mary Beth is driving up from New York.
Winthrop, that house in Winthrop, also my brother’s house, had always been the locus of family joy and celebration. Now comes this summer tragedy, like a hot, dry wind. Everything is change. And life is moving us all toward difficult places. Brother Bill confined in a nursing facility, no prospect for a homecoming; his wife confined in a Boston hospital.
Life can be like this. We’ve been blessed as a family. Sorrow comes.
It came at mid-summer.
This has been a personal moment.