May of 1974, my brother, Eugene, along with a couple
of his friends had left school and gone to a nearby
irrigation pond where they went swimming. The only
thing is that Eugene did not know how to swim.
I remember coming home and getting out of my
school clothes. Mom and dad were not home, so Eugene
and I would always go into the living room
and play the stereo. This was the only time we could
play it because we were not allowed while our
parents were at home. Actually, they did not want
us to touch it while they were away either,
so mom placed quilts on top of the cover.
I went into the living room and removed the
quilts carefully and began finding our favorite
radio station, WCIG in S.C.
As I sat
on the edge of the couch listening to the music,
Eugene came in and sat down as he usually did. I
can't remember if we had a conversation or
not, but I do remember him being in the room with
As I was getting into the music, a car
pulled up in our driveway. It was Brother Graham,
along with his wife, from the church that we
I got up and went outside
to see what they wanted. When I got to the car,
Brother Graham told me that he had heard that
my younger brother had slipped into a pond about
a half mile from the school yard.
numb for a minute, until I saw Harvey and Harris
walk out to see what was going on. When they walked
outside, I felt much better because I knew Eugene
was inside listening to the music on the radio.
Eugene was my youngest brother and I was next
to him, then there was Harvey and Harris. Now I
knew that everyone was accounted for.
When Brother Graham told Harris what was going
on, Harris asked where Eugene was and I told him
that he was in the living room. Harris told
me to go get him so that Brother Graham would know
that it was none of us who had slipped into
I ran back inside, hoping to find
Eugene where I had left him but there was no Eugene
anywhere in the house.
I called out his name
as loud as I could, but there was no answer. When
I got near the kitchen, it's like this voice told
me that there was no use looking any further. My
I went back outside without
Eugene and the look on everyone's face changed.
I remember Harris asking me where Eugene was,
but I told him that I could not find him.
"But you said he was in the living room!" Harris
exclaimed. I did not know what to say at that time.
I became numb with fear that my baby brother
We jumped in the car with Brother
Graham and his wife and rode down to the irrigation
pond where the incident occurred.
rescue squad was already there dragging the pond
with hooks. When they found Eugene's clothes on
the other side of the pond, I knew that it
wasn't looking good. I was still hoping that he
may have somehow ran into the woods when he
saw others coming, because he did not have any clothes
on. So I walked into the woods and called his
name in a whisper. If he was hiding, and I find
him, I was going to get his clothes and take it
to him secretly so that he wouldn't be embarrassed.
I never heard an answer from so, I started walking
out of the woods. When I came out of the woods,
I saw a member of the rescue squad grab hold
of something with his hook. Then I saw an arm. I
was still hoping at the last minute that it
was someone else, but when the naked body was lifted
out of the water, I saw that it was indeed
my baby brother, lying there lifeless.
can't even begin to describe how I was feeling at
this time. I felt as if I was having a bad nightmare
and was hoping to wake up soon, but this was
Eugene had drowned. They put his
body into the ambulance and pronounced him dead
at the scene. There were so many questions
running around in my head that I couldn't even keep
As the ambulance drove off, we headed
back to our car. Just before getting to the car,
mom fainted. Curtis caught her before she hit
the ground. This was our first loss and it was very
devastating to me.
We rode back home in my
dad's car. I remember him talking about what happened,
as if nothing important had happened. Then,
out of nowhere, he asked if we were hungry. No one
said anything. He went to Hardee's and ordered
burgers for everyone. This was just like him to
do the right thing at the wrong time. I felt that
he had no love for Eugene and it angered me
terribly. When I got home, I tossed my burger to
the dogs and went outside to grieve alone.
I knew from that day on, things would never be the
Later, the following day, I found
out the reason Eugene had left school. It was because
the teacher dismissed them from the class.
I was told that Eugene and two of his friends did
not have money to pay for a party that their
class was having that day, so the teacher told them
to go outside in the hall. She was a terrible teacher.
Eugene had also gotten his haircut by dad and
everyone was making fun of him, so he really didn't
want to be there in the first place.
My father really messed our hair up when he
cut it. It seemed he did it just to bother us. He
would cut all of our hair off and expect us
to go to school without being picked at. We never
knew what a barber shop was. My father had
strict rules about hair and if you were a boy, you
could not wear your hair long. He wouldn't even
let us cut our own. He wanted to do it so that
it would be messed up. Sometimes we would look like
something had gotten into our hair and taken
bites out in certain areas.
So, instead of
Eugene hanging around the school grounds that day,
he, along with his other two buddies, went back
in the woods to the pond. Eugene did not know how
to swim, but he was always the curious type. Apparently,
the two other guys knew how to swim a little, so
I guess he thought he was protected in case something
Well, something did go wrong.
Eugene fell into the pond while floating on a crate,
but instead of his friends helping him, they ran
to get help. By the time help arrived, it was too
late. My baby brother had drowned.
six months of continuous grieving, I felt that I
could not live without Eugene anymore. We had shared
everything and now I was forced to face life without
I come from a family of 16 including
my parents. We kind of branched off in pairs. Everyone
had a closer brother or sister and Eugene was
mine. At first, I thought that someone would accept
me into his or her clan, but that did not happen.
Feeling as much pain as a young teenager could feel
at this time, I decided that I no longer wanted
One night when my parents were gone,
I sneaked into my father's medicine cabinet and
took some pills, and then I went to lie down
and await death.
Thirty minutes went by,
and I started to feel kind of strange. I began to
panic and thought, "I'm really killing myself!"
I started to become panicky. It seemed to be taking
so long and my mind started playing tricks on me, so
I got up and called an ambulance.
I was rushed
to the hospital where my vital signs were taken
and a doctor observed me. As the doctor left me in
the room, a vision appeared right up on the ceiling.
There were 3 men discussing what I had done. They were
discussing why I was trying to kill myself. I could
not believe this was happening. At first I said
to myself, "It must be the effects of the medicine
that I had ingested", but the whole conversation
they were having seemed too intelligent. I
have hallucinated before, but never have I experience
anything like this.
The funny thing about this
was that whenever the doc would come in and check
on me, the apparitions would disappear and about 10
seconds after the doc walks out, they would reappear.
The apparitions never talked directly to me, they
just talked about me as if they were studying
Later, I was found to be O.K. I did not
have to get my stomach pumped and was released
when my parents arrived.
When I finally went
home and tried to adjust to life without Eugene,
I slipped into a web of depression once again.
I began thinking suicidal thoughts all over again,
but this time, I wanted to plan something that would
be quick and I had gotten up enough confidence
to do it this time.
As I started thinking
of a way to release myself from this world, I just
remembered going blank for a while. I remember
becoming very light, then I started rising up further
and further into open space. Then out of nowhere, I
seemed to be traveling faster than the speed of
light. I had a chance to see myself leaving the
Earth. I've always been afraid of heights,
but this was so peaceful and I felt so secure.
I came out somewhere beautiful and saw people
greeting one another with pure joy. They were having
such a wonderful time. It was like a continuous
party. I started walking and Eugene appeared out
of nowhere. I ran over to hug him, but he disappeared
whenever I got close to him. I heard him tell me
telepathically, to wait a while before I come
After about what seemed like a minute,
he reappeared and I was able to go over and
hug him. It was such a happy occasion! Wherever
I was, it took away all of my insecurities and I
instantly knew the answers to the questions
that I had always wanted to know the answers to.
I actually found the answers to be quite simple,
but whenever I came back, I did not remember any
Eugene and I walked around this
big place as we talked about everything. He then
took me to this room where I was able to look
back down on Earth and see our family gathering
for my funeral. Everyone was very sad. They
had lost Eugene earlier and now me. I could see
how it was having a bad effect on them, but I wished
that they could see just how happy I was and
that I was not really dead. I felt so much love
and joy at this place and I really wanted to
stay there forever.
After viewing my funeral
and my family, Eugene turned to me and asked, "Are
you really ready to come here right now?"
I looked at him and remembered that I was going
to say "Yes!", but before I could utter a single word,
I awoke on the floor in my bedroom. I tried to close
my eyes and go back, but I couldn't. I was so upset.
Why did I have to come back? When I finally
realized that I had to be here a little longer,
I got up and walked outside. Within an hour,
my depression had totally disappeared and I was
having fun like everyone else. For some reason,
I wanted to live now. I tried to keep myself busy.
Within three months, I had begun to realize
how sad and worthless it would have been for
me to kill myself and I don't even understand how
I came to that conclusion.