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.
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.
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 me. 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 would frequent. 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. I became 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 a pond. 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 heart dropped.
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 had
We jumped in the car with Brother Graham
and his wife and rode down to the irrigation pond where
the incident occurred.
The 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
Words 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 reality. Eugene had drowned.
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 up.
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 same again.
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
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 went wrong. 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 him. 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 to live.
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
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 three 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
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 to him.
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 of them.
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.
viewing my funeral and my family, Eugene turned to me
and asked, "Are you really ready to come here right
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.