For Josh, by Chris Lykins

From XFamily - Children of God

By Chris Lykins, in remembrance of his brother Josh Lykins. Originally posted on, 2002-09-27.

In rememberance of my beautiful brother.

Having been often asked by friends and acquaintances as to the nature of my childhood---I have often lied. It is for them that I paint the picture of a happy and pleasent place. However, within myself I hold no such illusions.

There was a time, once, when I am sure that I believed; yet that was long ago....

Today, the faces of old friends, many long since past, swim up as it where from the bottom of a murky pool---some to smile and wish me well, others to cry and lamment, pleading supplication for stories left untold. Today, my brother has joined the voices. It is now his face that swims up from troubled waters, a face that will remain forever unmarred by the ravages of time.

The day I laid him to rest, I kissed his cold lips with my own. It would have been easier by far, to have kissed his forehead as he lay slumped over the small desk where I do my writting, while the color still clung to his beautiful cheeks, and the red, red blood pooled under the side of his face, till it ran down, collecting in a pool of deepest crimson at his feet. It would have been easier to have kissed him then---I am sure, while the smell of gunpowder lingered in the air.

His final act of defiance; the smile on his face, saying more in silence than words could ever express. Yes, it would have been easier to have kissed him then, but I had to prove my love for him, by showing it when I knew it would be more difficult. And so I waited. I waited till after the color had left his cheeks, and his skin was cold and hard to the touch. That is when I kissed him. I hope he knows that.

Several days after the police and mortician had removed my brothers body, I went to the mortuary to pick up my brothers boots and other personal effects, so that I might bring them home for cleaning, and also so that he could be burried with his boots on, as he would have wanted. After retriving his belongings and returning home, I brought his boots into the bathroom, and placing the in the bathtub, began to srub the blood and brain matter from off of them, with one of his socks, while the scalding hot water burned at my fingers and hands, and the smell of blood, rich-sweet with iron rose in my nostrils. So much blood had stained his boots and cloathing that it had turned the color of the bathtub red---another bathtub, filled with blood, as was my sisters, and another story written in the same.

We took a trip to the Grand Canyon the following week, and there our family scatterd my brothers' remains over the gorge, so that they might one day be washed thru the soil and join with the Colorado River, and in turn flow out to the sea, from whence all life came and thereby join once again in the endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth. After scattering my brother Joshs'remains my brothers and I took knives and cut at the flesh of our hands, until blood was drawn to fill his urn, then packing the urn with fresh snow and wildflowers, we gave the urn to his girlfriend, Lorie, and to his sons. For it is blood that makes the grass grow green, and so it is that we feed the tree, each of us in his or her own way.

Suicide is a terible act to inflict upon ones self and upon ones family. It is perhaps however, the most definative statement that a person can make---a statement that cannot be revoked. It leaves in its' wake a lifetime of questions, which in turn lead to a lifetime of regret, for actions taken, or not taken and for things said, and left unsaid.

My brother Josh left behind only two small handwritten notes---one of which was addressed to his sons, and the other, to us, his siblings. He did not leave behind a note for our parents, and I am sure that there was a reason for this. Sometimes I wonder what they think about at night, bearing this knowledge. But they have their God, and their religion to cling to---the same God and religious beliefs that they placed above their children. Maybe, if the rules of combat had been different in our family, we might not have had so many casualties, but religion and lifestyle tend to tear people and families apart.

If there is any moral to this story, perhaps it is this; that life is beautiful, precious, and rare, and that forgiveness is perhaps the greatest leson that we can learn. I do not seek in this lifetime to forgive my brother for what he did, or my sister for what she tried to do. Both of them trusted me enough to find their bodies, and to hold them, as life slipped away, drop, by precious drop. It is a terible thing to wittness, and yet beautiful in its' own way. Yet it is not something that I would wish upon another. It is not my place, nor is it in my power to forgive them, but rather theirs, to forgive me, for in some way having failed to help them, thru their dark and trying times.

Many of us think that we can run from the demons that plauge us, and I have tried. In reality, the demons come upon you, and follow you till the ends of the earth. Run as you may, you will not escape. They haunt the recesses of the soul, and lurk in the shadows of the living. There is no corner from whence they will not seek you out, and destroy you if they can. Many think that they will go with time, and fade as a dream fades with the light of mornings dawn.... There are some of us who know better. Our only hope lies in their acceptance, only through knowing our demons may we seek to gain mastery over them. For to know the demons is to know ourselves, to over come the demons, is to be in communion with that, which is Divine.

For Josh...

Because, sometimes the demons win.