I’m grateful for my texting family which is represented mostly by my two sisters. The drawback of that is that when they actually do ‘call’ me it usually means bad news on grand proportions. Tuesday night was no different.
My sister Becky called to tell me that my cousin Joe was killed when he was pinned underneath a tractor when it flipped while he was bush hogging. Authorities suspect it was instant. Yes, in an instant.
And not to make this about me, briefly, but this is what I’ve been trying to say over the past several months. Nobody’s tomorrow is guaranteed. Just because I know I have a terminal disease doesn’t mean you could live any longer than I. I would have preferred this example wouldn’t have hit so close to home, or to anybody for that matter.
I haven’t seen Joe a lot in my adult life, but fortunately I saw him at my uncle & aunt’s 50th anniversary this past Spring. My mom’s family of five was split between her brother (Joe’s dad) and sister in Brookville, and herself and two other sisters who were just a ‘stone’s throw away’ where I grew up in western Franklin County. Brookville seemingly as a kid seemed double or triple the distance away than it really was, but I didn’t see the Brookville contingent as often, and therefore wasn’t as close to them. We saw them at Christmas, Easter, and a few other holidays, weddings, and anniversaries. Still more often than some other families see each other, but you get the drift.
The most heartbreaking thing of this was when I was trying to find information regarding arrangements and found Joe’s wife on Facebook. When I saw her cover profile (above header) of those kids my heart sunk so hard. I just can’t imagine what she is going through, and what those kids are going to be absent from in their lives. Joe was a modest, quiet, and built on two foundations; farming and love. We likely will never know exactly what fatal mistake he made given that he has probably been piloting tractors since before he was 10. But I’m sure even the most experienced in every field aren’t immune to the unavoidable.
I finally got the arrangements tonight from yet another phone call, my sister Kim, that will send me to Brookville this weekend. It won’t be about concrete chickens, or fairs, and the like, but more under the spotlight for me will be the sight (preview) of a family losing a brother (Joe has three sisters and a brother) and son. It’s going to be a difficult, and perhaps surreal experience for me.
The car is booked, and some preps will need to made yet, but I’ll be ready to soak this in no matter how much hurt is in that room. I have to.
Joe was 35.