Friday, December 10, 2010

Memories of Eddie

I come from a large family even though I only have one sister. My grandparents had 8 kids, three girls and 5 boys. My dad grew up during the depression. He has told us stories of growing up and their family was close and pulled together. My grandfather bought a pony and would take it around the neighborhood taking pics of kids on it on the weekends.

They went on to give them 31 grandkids. We were just as close growing up also. I remember spending lots of time with my cousins. Spending the night at each others houses too. I was the 8th oldest out of the bunch. My cousin Julie was my best friend growing up since we were only a few weeks apart in age. Her oldest brother, Rich, has always been my hero. Julie and I were playing at the top of the stairs at my grandmothers house with her new puppy. Needless to say, I tripped over it's leash and took a header down the stairs. Rich was the one who carried me into the house all bloody. Eddie and his brother Bill heralded our arrival with "we didn't do anything grandma!"

Eddie was always there. The oldest of the grandkids. Our leader. I always thought he was so much older than me, but it was only by 6 years. It was always fun to be around him when I was younger. He was honest and said what was on his mind. He was strong and yet gentle. He joined the Marines after high school and loved it.

While he was in the Marines he had a breakdown. It ended up that he was discharged from the Marine Corps that he loved so much. He was diagnosed as being schizophrenic. Here was a wonderful person, a brother, a son, a cousin, a grandson trapped in a world that wasn't his. His mind stole so much from him, but worst of all it stole his future. It also weakened his body. The medications designed to help him weakened him. His heart, which was always strong, gave out. The body trapped by his mind could not take no more. He was 54 and now 6 years does not seem like such a big difference.

I still mourn for the life that was lost. The life that should of loved and been loved. The life that should of influenced the world through children of his own. He deserved so much and received so little. He was the first of the grandchildren to bring joy and tears. It will be a sad reminder of how the diseases of the mind can rob a life.

It is also a lesson on how strong a family is. It was comforting to be surrounded by family during this sad time. Even though the structure has fallen apart since my grandmother died, it was comforting to have cousins supporting cousins. The holidays may be overshadowed by his passing, but the spirit is alive with the support of family.

I have and always will love you Eddie.


Lori said...

Oh Maggie ~ I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Oddly enough I just came from seeing my cousin ~ diagnosed on Monday with stage 3 cancer. He starts his treatments on Tuesday and we are praying for a full recovery. I think of you often and will keep you in my prayers. xo

cindy @ cottage instincts said...

Very sweet remembrances of not only Eddie, but of your family. I'm so sorry you're grieving this holiday season, but I hope the happy memories will begin to ease the pain of his loss.

blessings dear friend.

Jacqueline said...

Dear Maggie,
I'm so sorry to here about your cousin Eddie.
He was very, very special to you and I know that you will miss him terribly.
You have so many wonderful memories of him and nobody can take them away. Christmas will obviously be a sad time for you this year but, I'm sure that Eddie would have wanted you to make this a wonderful Christmas for your family. You wrote so beautifully about Eddie and he was such a presence in your life. I know that you and your family will keep his memory alive. Hold those memories close to your heart.
Much love to you Maggie and I will be thinking of you. XXXX

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Maggie, I am so very sorry for your great loss.
Your tribute to your eldest cousin and leader was touching, sincere and so beautiful.
Even though it sounded like he had many hard times, he touch your world and that is a true blessing.
May God comfort and keep you, my dear friend!

Dragonfly Treasure said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. I'm so glad you have such fond and special memories of him. Keep them close and may they one day fill the emptiness you feel now. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family ♥♥