When Your Brother Dies: In Memory of Anthony Haynes, Houston, Texas - 2018 Tribute

It's 7:49A, Thursday, Jul. 22, 2010:  I'm on the southbound Red-Line to downtown, and my groovy Cantaloupe Island ring tone halts the nod-off drools of other passengers as well. Digging furiously into my bag, I can't find my phone fast enough. Who could be calling me - and for what? At this hour?  Have I missed a call from my 16 year old driving to class?  God, I hope nothing's happened involving her....

Thank goodness. It wasn't her after all.  It was my brother, TQR - as I have him in my contacts.  I hit call back, and his fragile cracking bass voice answered ... "I have some bad news."  My mind scanned for some rationale to this message... Unlike past random calls from my favorite youngest sibling, there was no humorous anecdote or Discovery Channel wisdom to deliver. This morning, he cleared his throat and said..  "Anthony died."  "Anthony who?"......  1 second... 2 seconds.. 3 seconds..  In unison: I asked, he declared... "Haynes!"  My baby brother's best friend, who was born on the same exact day, the same exact year as he, was... Dead? Say it's not so!

Stunned.  I listened.. as he told me as much of the details as he knew.  Silently trying to extend to him everything I was lacking.. I wanted to curse out loud, but was acutely aware of my current situation.  On a train, in close proximity to others who were listening; as I would have been. My heart was breaking... breaking.. and then, completely broken.  Feeling my brother's pain.. "Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy"  I heard myself saying out loud, over and over.  How will we cope?  How will he cope?  His best friend is dead, and he has to be at work.  "I'm sorry, TQ.  I'm so very sorry." 

Before I canceled my Facebook account a month ago, Haynes was the only none blood family member I listed as "family."  He was the only other one I enjoyed chatting with online. He'd always initiate our text/chat conversations with his customary "Whats up, Sis?"  We'd briefly exchange greetings about nothing much, or his adventures on the road as a truck driver.  He and TQ were like natural born brothers from the same mother since the day they met.  I knew my little brother would have to look past his own pain and direct his mind toward the corporate/US Army mission and the recognition that he was an employee first, today.  And so was I.  This inseparable part of that which is the core of what should be going on for everyone who wants it, in this country: gainful employment.  But how dare they need us more today than yesterday.  Don't they know?  Should we tell them?  We just found out, my brother's best friend is dead.

After a few minutes of gazing at fast moving trees, and clouds and traffic from my window seat, I called my mother to inform her and to seek maternal solace for me and her youngest boy.  I felt a twinge of strangeness after she said... "You scared me.  I thought you were going to tell me something bad about one of us."  "Anthony is one of us!!!"  How had she missed the connection?  Shit! I guess I have the task of putting my  mental peace and quiet back together, for myself.. As it was time to get off the train and go to work  like nothing was the matter.

From boys to men..
Gosh.  They say, youth is wasted on the wrong people.  The two of them had an abundance of youthful charm, good looks, and great 'old school' raised-right attitude.. Youth was not wasted on them.  They were the good guys.  Doing the best they could with what they had.  And they're the kind of guys that are easy to forgive if they didn't get it right.  Gone too soon, is an understatement.  I can only regret not being on Facebook right now to share in the memories and help go through the muck.. and or help find purpose in his departure. If there is any.

Oh well.  I have my own memories to cherish and dwell on...  Like my brother's wedding: when I enjoyed watching them both act all grown up: Groom and Best Man.  And a couple of New Years' Eve's ago, when our slightly smashed trio rendered Auld Lang Syne truly forgettable by phone from Houston to Dallas.  My mind doesn't know which single vision to carry as Anthony Haynes in heaven.  The past memories of him, or the present truth about him.  I'll have to wait and see which one gives me more peace.

Here from Heaven and back again...
My baby brother's best friend is gone.  And it tugs at my soul that I can't see TQ to give him a hug in his time of grief.  He had returned to active duty after years as a Texas State Trooper and Dallas Deputy & SWAT Officer, and he was no longer in Dallas.. or Texas, for that matter. How does life go on?  I can only imagine it's harder for him to reach outside his deeply personal thoughts and feelings to fill and envelop his loss while he's on the job, today.  But I'm having a hard time coping with this thing, too.. We didn't just make friends with Anthony, he was a trusted beloved keeper-friend.  He was family..  And He would have been the first one I called if I needed him to find TQ.. like TQ needed to find him, after he wasn't responding to phone calls and text messages since Monday.   They  GPS tracked his path to a rest stop in Chicago where they found him deceased in the cab of his rig.  Too too far away from his loved ones in Houston.  Oh, God!!!!!  No more Haynes for TQ to say... "Guess- what?" to.  Or to disclose or betray some soul-baring confidence between him and his darned near twin. 

Well.  What I really need to say to Haynes right now, is this:  Because you were best friends with TQ (my best friend), you hold a lost piece of me.  And I will miss your undivided devotion, and personal  connection to him.  I love you.  I miss you.  So does he.

And ... I will see you on the other side, my other baby brother -from another mother.



| Family photo and original prose copyright Jackie D. Rockwell | All Rights | 2018 |

Originally posted on this blog, July 22, 2010

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