One Year Ago, My Archangel went to heaven

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Marty

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We were your typical average family; well almost. Actually, we could have even been your below average family for that matter. We tried to be good parents, tried real hard, I have the gray hairs to prove it, but we couldn’t protect our son from a monster. For anyone that cannot imagine having lost a child, the only way I can describe it is the worst torture you can imagine that just will not stop. No parent should every have to bury their child. No little brother should see his hero, his mentor, his lifeline, dying in a bloody ditch.

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Michael was my little clone. We looked so much alike at the same age, that we could pass for twins. We used to put our pictures together, side by side at different ages and the likeness was amazing. We felt the same feelings about everything and shared the same opinions and reactions on most subjects. We thought the same thoughts, shared the exact same mannerisms, hand motions, our walk, you name it, and if the truth be told, he followed in my footsteps of outrageous teenage pranks, and then far surpassed them. He just got caught more often than I did! And he did blame me for his being short! I had a whole lot of patience with this boy because he was me.

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We are all very different people now. Everything has changed. Our family revolved around the silly, mischievous, hijinks of Michael much more than anyone could realize. Michael is the one that kept us laughing our heads off every day, or at the very least, kept us tearing our hair out in awe and amazement; “What did he do this time?” And did we really want to know the answer……..? No, not really.

We still wait for him to come bouncing out of his room to do a new impersonation for us, or another dumb dance that he made up, or hear another explosion from another new invention that he made. I’m still waiting for him to bum a couple of bucks from me so he can use it to buy something for me. I’m still waiting for him to come though that door with ten kids who want to know what’s for dinner. I can see him. I can feel him, I can hear him, but I just can’t touch him. He’s every where, every day, in every thought, every minute. We cannot seem to do or say anything without thinking of him and how the way life used to be.

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We were the Garrisons’ such as we were. Through all the crazy family mal-functions, mischievous nonsense, through all the trials and tribulations, the celebrations for no apparent reason, the family arguments over petty nonsense to the big serious stuff, we were still were happy, and Michael always came out of every mess smelling like a rose. We were happy people because we were crazy in love with each other despite our downfalls. We were connected by much more than DNA. We were truly a part of each other. No matter who smacked who up side the head, no matter who stole the last slice of pizza, no matter who conveniently lost their report card on the way home from school, no matter who backed into the tree with my truck, no matter how dysfunctional we could be, we were connected by the deepest love anyone could ever have. We were a family.

Then in a blink of an eye, some drunk killed Michael for no reason. He ran over top of a boy that was ten feet or more off of the road after he hit two other cars first that morning. A person who makes crystal meth, sells it, uses it, stays drunk, and shot his own father in the head a few years ago. Why was this garbage loose in the first place?

Michael went to heaven, but we know he didn’t want to leave us. He was about to start his new job and go to the local college. He was a home boy and never wanted to leave us, not for a second. We knew this kid would live with us forever, one way or the other and that was fine with me. He was staying here to build a house at the end of the back pasture in the thicket, for when he and Tabby got married. Michael planted flowers there two years ago and they never came up until last week. I call it Michael’s garden and it’s where I go to be alone and quiet, speak to him, cry my eyes out, and scream. He struggled to stay alive and fought for hours to live but he died anyhow no matter how hard we begged him not to leave us. That’s when we died too. That trash didn’t just kill one of us; he took all of us; our hearts, our souls, and the rest of our lives and blew us apart. I don’t understand how this could have happened to us. We weren’t mean or bad people and we didn’t look for trouble. We didn’t steal, cheat, use drugs, or drink alcohol, and never hurt anyone, so we don’t know why we were all chosen to die but we were. He killed us all that day.

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You would think, or hope, that after a year of sadness things would let up just a little, but no. I’m being punished and I still don’t know what I did wrong. We can’t watch E.R. or CSI on television anymore, or most horror movies for that matter. It’s too much blood and guts for us. We saw Michael’s…….and it reminds us. When we hear an ambulance, or see a chopper flying over head, it reminds us of that fatal night and causes us to relive it over and over and over in our heads. Nobody has had a full night’s sleep in a year. One of us throws up at least once a day and one of us just wants to die. One of us is filled with hatered and one of us is waiting to settle the score. One of us would sell our soul to the devil if that could bring Michael back home. All this because some idiot thought it was fun to drink and use drugs.

But don’t pity us or tip toe around us, because that doesn’t help. Being there, treating us like we’re normal, does. We were pathetic, we knew it. For a while, we were very alone and felt like outcasts. Who wanted to be around this mess anyhow? No one. It was too violent, too tragic. People avoided me when they we saw me at the store, pumping gas at the gas station, or running errands around town. The tellers at the bank, the cashiers at the store all whispered “that’s Michael’s mother” when they saw me; then they stared. Dan got ditched pretty badly too and was left out of his circle for quite some time. The phone quit ringing and no one called for any of us anymore. We were told it was because no one really knew what to say to us and how to act around us. Should they be sad and talk about it, or try to be funny and make us laugh? So to play it safe, they said nothing and stayed away. After several months I got off of all the prescribed pills, got the heck out of bed, got dressed and began to function again, because Dan was still there and needed me more than ever. Eventually Dan got his friends back one by one and everyone began to talk to us again. Now, every time the phone rings, we appreciate having someone to talk to. Every time some one in a passing car beeps or waves, we appreciate it. Every time someone just wants to stop by and say hello, we appreciate it. Little things that we used to take for granted……are so appreciated more than ever now. We will always be indebted to our forum family and the only way we know how to keep thanking everyone is for us to pay it forward every chance we can.

It is still way to quiet around here. Last 4th of July was so quiet. Not a firework on the place. We usually had enough to set off for hours. No one could eat at Thanksgiving, so Dan and I put all the food in the freezer. Christmas was the worst. Our eyes were swollen all day long, especially when we took our traditional family picture.

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We were so grateful to Jody for sending us a special tree for Michael and to Sheryl for bringing it home for us; and to you and all his friends for decorating it for us.

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I don’t hardly ever go to the cemetery. I hate it so I decorate it for whatever season it is, and then Jerry takes care of watering the flowers during the week. How sick, to be the decorating nut that I am, and now I’m stuck decorating my baby’s grave of all things. I never knew how to decorate a grave before so I had to walk around the cemetery to see how it was done. I brought him pumpkins for Halloween and mums and stuff like that and these little turkey and pilgrims for Thanksgiving. For Christmas his friends made him a tree there and he had tons of poinsettias and candy and tons of decorations. They even brought him some battery operated lights. His friends often go there, it’s right by the school and they leave him all sorts of fun stuff and there’s always a Dr. Pepper there too. Right now he has some posies and petunias, some wind chimes and a little garden flag that has a poem about “miracles,” and angels, lots of angels all the time; he loved angels so much. I leave candles there with a lighter in a zip lock bag so his friends can light them up when they go out and Jerry put some of those solar lights around too. Michael hated the dark. There’s a little portable CD player and his favorite music in a metal box so anyone can listen to his favorite music. Nobody bothers any of it and Jerry wants to get a bench to sit on. People leave him love letters and thank you notes for things I never knew about. He was very modest. Daniel and Tabby have never been there since the funeral.

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I’m telling you these intimate details because somewhere, you know someone that drinks too much or uses drugs; or maybe it’s even you. You might think it’s fun to just drink socially, enough to make you “happy” but someone has to drive home, and that someone might kill someone you love. Now you all know first hand, what that one extra drink can do, so the next time you decide to be the life of the party, think about us.

We all stay very busy. Dan is working with Jerry now, spending all his money on his car, and dating way too many girls. I don’t see him much. Jerry is working in flooring although he “retired.” He turned 68 in April. He is still teaching Michael’s Bible Study class at Church on Wednesday nights and Sundays, but I have left the Church and god forever and I will not discuss it any further. I am focused on the horse farm and I’m excited about the new bouncing little foals. I am spoiling Michael’s little Noelle rotten as you can well imagine and seems my life’s work is to potty train that puppy once and for all. I did make good on a couple of promises that I made in Michael’s name so I am happy to have accomplished that.

It’s amazing that I haven’t been put in jail by now myself. I’ve become quite a regular thorn in the side of just about every Tennessee department from here all the way up to the governor with my constant rantings and trying to do something about the laws. There are a million offices up at the Capital and I’ve made myself know to each one. I’m sure by now they are convinced I’m possessed and someday will send someone after me to lock me up in a nut house. Nevertheless, I’m on a mission to do something about the judges that send known murders back out on the street with a slap on the wrist to kill again. So far I’m a failure, but I’ll go down trying. Court will begin on August 21. The Grand Jury has been selected and so far over 20 subpoenas have been served. On all three charges: Vehicular Homicide, Leaving the Scene of an Accident; Murder in the 2nd degree, this piece of trash can get a total of no more than 12 years and be back out in 4. But someone that robs a car can get up to 22 years. Now you know why I’m trying to get some laws changed.

My boys and I always had this little saying that we would tell each other every day when one of us went out the door, even when we just went out to take out the trash, or when calling home after only being gone a half and hour, we’d say: “Love you, Miss you, Need you.” Every minute of every day, someone loves you and you love some one back. You have to validate it and never take it for granted because you never really know if you’ll ever see that person again. The last time I saw Michael alive he was rushing out the door towards the garage and I was hollering “Pick up the pizza in 10 minutes, love you miss you need you.” He didn’t look back but gave me the peace sign in the air (V) which meant “me too.” The only thing I have that makes me feel good is knowing that I doted on Michael endlessly and he knew it, and that included days where I was at my wits end with his crazy stuff. Even if it meant chasing him out the door and hollering in front of his friends, “Hey Kid, I love you!” I did it and I do take a bit of comfort in that. A day never passed when I didn’t tell him how much I loved him and what he meant to me. He died knowing that. So even if you are ticked off at your kid, your mom, dad, your spouse, your friend, take the time to just tell them how much you love them every single day. It’s really important.

We will forever be a family of four.

Hey Michael, love you, miss you, need you…….

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Michael Joseph Garrison

18 years old

The happiest boy in the whole USA
 
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SWA

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Marty, no words will ever express just how deep you and your family is forever held in my heart.
 

MiniHoofBeats

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I'm sorry, same here I am at a loss for words except, I can't believe it's been a whole year already. It's as if the news came across yesterday, the feelings are all still there. I can't help it, I cried through the whole reading and i'm still crying now, the love you have for your son is unspeakable. God Bless you, I know your son lives on through you
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Russ

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Marty.......we will never forget your son....Michael

Be good to yourself always Marty.....you wrote alot of words that need to be said/heard by all......the message your sharing can/will make a difference.
 

SWA

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Marty.......we will never forget your son....Michael

Be good to yourself always Marty.....you wrote alot of words that need to be said/heard by all......the message your sharing can/will make a difference.

Amen.
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MiniforFaith

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Marty, I can't believe that it is a year.. I will never forget reading your post about what happened to Michael. I truely admire your love for your son. No, we can't always be there to protect them. But you gave him everything he ever needed-- YOUR LOVE, AND A WONDERFUL FAMILY LIFE..He had a full life because you filled it with your LOVE.. You are a wonderful person, and no this should have never have happened to you. But like you said, you knew he knew you loved him. And you knew he loved you. There are families out there that don't have that. Their everyday life is empty -- they have no clue how to love.. You knew, and you made sure he knew.. I wish there is something I could do, but the one thing you want I can't do.. I wish I could bring him back to you, but I can't. But I, like everyone on this forum is here for you to listen, and share stories with you.. I know I never met you, but I feel that I have because you are always there giving advise and helping..I wish I could give you a hug -- but I'll send you one over the net>>
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: I just hope that monster gets what he has coming to him very soon... I'll have my candle lit for Michael and you again.. And I am so glad you got out of bed and starting living again.. Everyone needs you!!
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Watcheye

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He sounds like he was a great guy. I am sorry I will never get that chance to know him and I am truly sorry for those who have lost him. I know my words are few they just seem so insignificant but I want you to know that even though I have not met (maybe some day) my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
 

Miniv

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Marty,

Thank you for telling it like it is for you.........for your first year. I've been told that Grief is a process, and not something you get "over". I totally agree with that. And what you just shared here shows the truth in that. No one can really know what your grief is about -- not even close -- unless they've also lost a child.

One paragraph you wrote really hit home for me personally.....It was the part about not being able to watch certain TV programs or horror movies. I can totally relate to that. But, how do you explain to people who have never been victims of a violent crime -- why? (Not even my husband understands that.) No, you never get "over it".

As hard as it is, this Life is important. And Love is the center of it all.... Marty, Michael was and IS a beautiful example of both -- Life and Love. What a gift.

Bless you, Jerry, and your amazing Dan.
 

jdomep

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Marty,

I can't believe a year has passed - a day hasn't gone by that I did not think about the family I have never met - yet that has touched me and my family so deeply. I have always cherished my sons but something happened the day that monster took your son and they have been held a little tighter and watched much closer. God Bless you, Jerry and Dan. And today I will say a prayer for that perfect angel in heaven who is full of Love!
 

lvponies

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I have thought of you, Michael and your family many times during the last year. My family, who has never been on the forum, knows you all and their thoughts and prayers were added to mine and sent to you across the miles many times, as they still are. This was a truly tragic thing that happened to Michael and I am as sorry now as I was when I first heard the news. It never should have happened!! I am so proud of you, Marty, that you are fighting to change the laws and open people's eyes. I believe, with perserverance that you will succeed in the end. {{{HUGS}}} to you all!!
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Reble

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Marty, sure shows us how fast a year passes so quickly.

God Bless and thanks for sharing, if your story stops just one person not to drink and drive, it can save someones life.
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Leeana

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Oh Marty. I can still remember where i was when i heard the news from Frannie, exact same spot at the show ..i will always remember that date, time and place i heard the news. This past year flew by.

Thank you for sharing your story, you may have a PM sometime today my friend
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MiniaturePrincess429

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Wow, it's already been a year. When ever you write something about Michael I get shivers. I look up to you because you are such a strong lady. Some people would have handled it worse than you, and even though you had a very rough patch, you needed it to get to where you are. Stay strong, Marty We love you.
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Scoopiedoo

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You are an amazing woman, and you have an amazing family! You have a pm.

HUGS to you all!

Jodi
 

FoRebel

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HUGS to you, Dan and Jerry! Time passes too quickly sometimes and others, not quick enough... I honestly believe that Michael is still here with you even though not in the flesh... He lets you know that he's still with you, Dan and Jerry... You know that.
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: HUGS!
 

MeadowRidge Farm

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Marty, my dear friend, I dont think any of us on this forum will ever forget the first post we read from you telling us about Micheal.The year has just gone by so fast. God picked a very special angel to bring home on that evening, and it was your Michael. MIchael knew he was loved by everyone who met him, especially his Mom. He is and will always be part of this forum. (((hugs))) to you Marty, Jerry, Dan, you have a very special angel keeping watch over you. Corinne
 

Frankie

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Marty, I hope you know my thoughts are with you and your family this day, and everyday.
 

The Dynamic Duo

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Marty, that was beautiful.I'm in tears. There are no words for my condolences (sp?) My ffreinds and I can't watch CSI either because 3 days after he passed, one of our greatest freinds passed for the same reason......
 

Davie

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Marty, dear friend, Jerry and Dan--it doesn't seem that long ago that the first post arrived that your world had been shattered, changed forever, and in the blink of an eye. A Special Angel was taken home and those left on this earth changed forever with you.

We tried to care for you and your family the best we could and knew that you had a very hard road to walk, but your strengh and that of family, friend, and fellow students would help see you through some of the darkest of day. We will alway be here for you and your Special Angel will be part of our lives as well.

His killer will get what he deserves, but it will not bring your Special Angel back. Just realize that very light whisp of air that lifts a stand of your hair is Michael saying Hi MOM, I'm right here. Just close your eye and he's right there. Pet a kitten and wait for it's purr--he's saying I'm right here.

I have a special connection with that very Special Angel--we were born on the same day.

You, Jerry and Dan are always in my thoughts and prayers.
 

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