Friday, October 16, 2009

Good-By Little Boy by Jaye Lewis

Andy. He was my cousin. Disturbed and charming, even at the age of four, he stole my sixteen year old heart. I was wounded myself, and perhaps I saw a bit of myself in him. Also, I was born with a sense of the ludicrous, and though he annoyed me, even enraged me, he usually got me laughing, in spite of myself.

Andy’s father, my Uncle Donny, was tough on his boys, and Andy was one in a million, easily on his way to the church or prison. I don’t think his heart was evil, and Uncle Donny did so much to save me, so where did those lives fail to save themselves? When did everything go wrong for both of them?

Perhaps it was when Aunt Maggie died. Perhaps it was because my parents went through friends and relatives like water through a sieve, drawing battle lines in the sand and declaring evil, what once was good. I’ll never know. Out of necessity, I lost track long ago.

The only thing I know is that my Aunt died in childbirth when I was pregnant with my first child, more than 40 years ago. Then seven years later, Andy shot and killed his father. Was it an accident? Was it intentional? Did my uncle turn to drink, as was the habit of my family when anything went wrong? Did he beat Andy? Did he work long hours? Did he abandon the little boy, as he became a man? Again, I’ll never know.

Recently, I did an internet search to find them, and find them I did. It has become easier now, with all the competing websites. I suppose that I hoped that Andy had become a man, married, and had children. Perhaps he was a businessman, now, or a laborer, a craftsman, anything but what I found.

Andy is gone. Shot dead, by a bullet from his own weapon. All that potential, all that I loved, all that I remembered, the little boy who annoyed me and made me laugh, was no longer here. In my heart, he’s still alive, and still very much a little boy. As a wounded teen, from a very dysfunctional family, I was healed by my love for that little lost boy, and now he is gone.

I got out of the website, erased the history, shut down my computer, and I cried. Broken hearted and defeated, I sobbed for an hour, and then I gave Andy, my Uncle, and my Aunt to God. It was then that I was able to write the following poem.

Good-by Little Boy

Good-by little boy, who will never be
A man of honor and truth.
You had more strikes against you
And burdens that stole your youth.

And, yet, you chose to end your hopes
One day with a loaded gun;
It was your decision; remember that.
You could have turned and run.

I do not know the demons
That pushed you to your fate;
You made your awful decision
And now it’s just too late.

Good-by little boy, my cousin dear,
Wish I could have saved you somehow.
Perhaps you were given a time to repent,
And you’re in God’s arms right now.

Yet, through the years you’ll always be
The child I learned to love;
Filled with fire and promise;
I pray, now, with God above.

© Jaye Lewis, 2009

Father in Heaven, thank You for the lives that have touched ours and changed our hearts forever. Let us not lose hope when someone dies, even in the worst of circumstances. Let us understand that in that brief second before we step into the great divide, there still are choices. Angels abide in those moments, although unseen to the rest of us. We only see our grief and our hopes lost, but let us never assume that all is lost, for we have You, oh Lord, as the rock to which we cling.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Email Jaye