I woke up the other day to my phone making sounds that announce a new text had come in since I last checked. I usually turn my phone off at night. I have never got a good result if it is a nighttime call, text or email or anything that comes at strange times during the night. Somehow I must have forgotten to check to see if it was off or not. It was a text from my older brother who lives up in Idaho. It wasn’t very long, just a few words: “Cedric passed just now.”
It wasn’t a text I was looking forward to receiving, but it wasn’t surprising. My brother, Roger, has lost so much of his hearing that texting is about the only way we communicate. His house is 12 hours away and we are not getting any younger. Anyway, my younger brother, Cedric, was who he was talking about. Cedric had cancer of the salivary glands many years ago and though he beat it. It was a terrible few months. Years later, he found out that it had spread to almost all his major organs.
My oldest brother died a few years ago from something that had poisoned his blood. He was living in Hawaii at the time running a fishing boat. My younger brother had stayed at the family home after my mom passed and sort of cleaned up some bad habits he had. He was lonely and missed mom so he sold the house my dad had built and was able to buy a house and some acreage up in Idaho. They both asked me to come up, but then they would send me photos of the snow up to the windowsills.
“No, thank you!” I’ll take the wind in Gonzales in a New York minute over snow that seemed to be constant. I know it wasn’t snowing all the time because Lorraine and I had visited them a few times in the summer, but put that with the folks in Idaho, and Gonzales looks better all the time.
We had just gone up to see my brother in Idaho a few months ago and my older brother said there wasn’t going to be a service, so I told them I just can’t come this time. You might call that callus, but let me explain a little further. I don’t go to funerals anymore. I can’t put my finger on why, but I stay depressed after I attend a funeral. My doctor told me it may have something to do with my PTSD. I have seen plenty of deceased people in my lifetime and the idea that I might be missed never crosses my mind.
You see, the reason it was a particularly poignant text was because we had always been four brothers. We had each other’s back all the way back to when my younger brother started elementary school. We needed each other because we also said what we thought and some folks found that offensive. So this imaginary person had to know that if they had a problem with one of us, it was with us all. Both my older brothers and I had left the family home some years before my dad died.
My oldest brother, Dudley, had left to join the Marine Corps. He had reached the age where there was problems communicating with dad. I can still remember them yelling at each other, so it was probably the best thing he could do. Life was pretty cool around the Worthy house, and then Roger got old enough to talk back to my dad, so the Marine Corps looked good to him too.
When I turned 16, I expressed the idea that I also was ready to join the service. I believe I have already told you about how Roger and Dudley talked me into joining the Army for the jump pay, and I was sent back from Vietnam for a week when dad left us.
Although I didn’t want to see my dad gone, I was only laying around in Vietnam waiting for another assignment. If you are not in the jungle, it was almost unbearable over there because we were fighting a war and no one wants to be left behind. So, when the Colonel called me in to tell me that my father was on a short list for God’s calling out, he told me to get ready.
About this time I figured that I had been away from my family for about eight years. That is, no trips home. Not because there was a reason to stay away, it was just the continual training we went through. And besides, I was an instructor at the Special Warfare School and that also took up a lot of my time. I loved my family and wanted the best for them, but I took my oath seriously.
Now that I live in Gonzales, it might be thought that I should have gone up to Idaho. I had seen my little brother a few months ago when Lorraine and I went there because we knew he was getting sicker. You couldn’t tell at that time that the terrible cancer had returned. He had a job and was making money, so we only saw him for a few minutes before he had to go back to work.
I’m sure that Roger was right when he wrote me that Cedric was with mom and dad and Dudley. Even if it is not true, it’s a pleasant thought to have. Cedric never hurt anyone on purpose that I knew about. He was kind and sweet and my youngest son reminds me of Cedric. I’ll never forget him and the sweet things he did for my mom. He will be missed by a lot of folks. You couldn’t stay mad at him. God has assigned him to the “W” line at the Pearly Gates, so he doesn’t hurt anymore.