Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Manyof you know that my cousin Bob has been missing and presumed dead in a helicopter crash for over a week now. Today we received confirmation of his death when his body was found in the lake about two miles from where the copter was last seen. No sign yet of the helicopter itself, but our relief at the discovery of the body is tremendous.

My father in law called this evening and I told him about finding Bob. His immediate reaction was one of sadness and sympathy. I may have shocked him a bit because my reaction is one of pure relief and yes, even some happiness. Unless you've had a close relative missing for an extended period, I don't think you can understand. It's the not knowing that drives you bonkers. You may realize in your heart that he's gone but unless you have a body, you just don't know. There's something about the material presence of the empty shell that gives a certain comfort--and dare I say it?--closure. It doesn't really matter how it happened at this point, but now we can go forward and grieve. Before we were hanging, unsure, always on edge.

A friend questioned me on the word "closure". She doesn't think it's an apt description and maybe it's not. But for lack of a better term, it does fit. When you don't know where your loved one is, your imagination continually plays scenarios. You imagine awful things (yes, there are things worse than death). When you know, really truly know, where your loved one is, there is some sense of closure. The life itself may be over, but you have a place you can go to grieve, and a sense that it really is only a body, and your loved one is now hopefully far beyond such trivialities we all face on a daily basis. It's hell, not knowing. Really, truly hell.

My cousin was almost exactly a year younger than me; his older brother is almost exactly one year older. The three of us often celebrated our birthdays together growing up (the November babies!) and while we had our disagreements (most notably his strong dislike of Obama), we stayed in touch via email and IM. From the annoying cousin I remembered as a teen, Bob and I developed a relatively close relationship in the past few years as we chatted frequently online. Sometimes he sent me truly idiotic emails and sometimes he'd surprise me with the depth of his feelings. I looked forward to his personal emails on every holiday wishing us all well, telling us to be safe, reminding us that he loved us. And whenever he IM'd me, I was "hey, cuzzo". I'm so sad I won't see that salutation on my screen from my favorite redneck cousin, sillyhillbillybob. Should I delete that email address? Or do I need to keep it so I can smile at the thought of my cuzzo who loved his very different cousin?

I'm sad but I'm relieved, and I hope his parents can receive some closure to these desperate hours. I hope his older brother, who walked the shores of the lake daily while Bob was missing, can fondly remember his goofy younger brother's laugh instead of the fear of the unknown he felt. I hope my brother who felt like Bob was a brother he didn't have can repeat the dumb jokes Bob told and remember with a smile how anal Bob was. I hope those who had issues with Bob can put those aside and realize that that redneck harbored a heart of gold which loved all of his family. I hope he's surrounded now by all his dear animal friends. And I hope I will get to see him again someday.



Lezlie said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. I am glad you are able to have some closure, whether it's the correct word or not. Hugs.


Nanci said...

I knew something was going on with your cousin, but didn't realize he had been missing. Though I've never been in a situation like that, I can only imagine how awful not knowing is. I'm glad they have found him.

Hugs to you - and kudos too, for a beautiful tribute to him. Everyone should be so lucky as to have someone say or write something like that about them after they are one.

Teddy Rose said...

Oh Tammy, I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you and your family. I think closer is the perfect word in this situation and I'm glad that your family has received it. I just wish it would have been happy closer.

Please know that you can email me anytime you want to chat. I'm here for you.



Doubtful Muse said...

I'm so sorry, Tammy.

Bookfool said...

I think "closure" is a good word to describe what all of you are going through, Tammy.

As to your FIL's reaction . . . It's not entirely the same, but I had a similar issue with my father's cousin not understanding why we were happy and joking around at my father's funeral. She was devastated at his death. We were relieved that we were finally getting to lay him to rest, after a week of vigil over him, not knowing whether or not he'd ever come out of his coma. Don't worry about how other people see you. We all go through those stages and there's a sense of relief at being able to say goodbye and know the horror is really, truly over.

Love ya!

Marg said...

I can fully appreciate the relief at knowing what has happened, and that now that you do know, you can truly grieve as you need to and gain composure.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

Beachreader said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Tammy. Your explanation of why you used the word "closure" certainly does make sense, particularly in an indstance such as this.

Big hugs,

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

I am so sorry to read about Bob, but glad too that you know what happened to him and that he's been found.
My condolences to you and yours.
I had an internet friend who died of a sudden heart attack. Although I delete a lot of my e-mails I've been unable to delete hers because while I've got them, it's as if a part of her is still immediately there, you know? So I know what you mean re the e-mails.
I agree with Nanci about your wonderful tribute to him. And although he's gone from this fleshly world... well you know my thoughts on that one.

Les said...

Tammy, this is such a belated comment, but I wanted to let you know how very sorry I am about your cousin. From your post, it's obvious how much he meant to you. I, too, have a cousin that I feel especially close to and I can't imagine my life without him.

Closure... now that's an interesting word. I've always struggled with it because I doubt I'll ever completely feel closure with my loss, but I do know I can (and have) moved forward in this grieving process. For you, closure is a fitting word because you no longer have to wonder what happened to Bob. And yet, I suspect, you have a long road ahead. The holidays are especially difficult, as are anniversary dates. Be gentle with yourself and don't let anyone rush you through your grief. It comes back when you least expect it, and while it may never completely disappear, it does get easier.

I'm so sorry. Sometimes life really sucks. I wish this didn't have to happen to you and your family.