I was raised in a military family, one of eight kids. My rating in the family (numerically, not emotionally!) was 4th from the top, or the youngest of the oldest 4. Right below me was my brother Kysa (though he was named Chuck at the time-he later changed his name) (as did I, but that’s another blog!). Some of my sibs were born overseas, some born here in the good old US of A. I was born in Texas, and, shortly afterwards, my parents were sent to Alabama, to Redstone Arsenal, in Alabama, which is where Kysa was born.
In this traveling that Handsome Husband and I have done, we went to my birthplace of Ft Hood, Texas, and lately, we finally made it to Redstone Arsenal. I sought it out with intent. Along with me, on this part of the trip, I was carrying my brother’s cremains.
Its been a long journey for me with this. Kysa died in January 1996, of Hodgkins cancer. I was with him in his last week, and with him when he died, and what I experienced with him changed my life forever. It started me on my hospice path, giving support first as a volunteer, to those who were dying, and then in bereavement support, where I started many groups, and assisted family members through the painful process. So, yes, a long road, but oh, how much I’ve learned!
So now, in the chill weather of January, Handsome Husband and I drove through the base at Redstone, and I looked around and wondered at all that must have changed since my dad had been stationed there. The only idea I had for scattering Kysa was that I wanted it to be in a bit of an isolated spot, and I wanted a “nature-y” spot. I’d prepared myself with 2 yellow carnations as a gift to my brother, one from me, one from Handsome Husband. It didn’t take us long to find a small park, covered in trees, and I knew it would be as perfect a place as I could find for him.
I’d given some thought to Kysa’s connection to this place. Like me, he was very young when he left Huntsville (and by young, I mean, waaayyy young, as in…baby!), and so I knew he himself wouldn’t have had an emotional connection to his birthplace. There was none for me there, either. What inspired me to do this was maybe more a way of completing the cycle. Redstone is where Kysa entered this world, and that is what had meaning for me.
I’ll let these pictures describe how it was for me, scattering Kysa’s cremains that day-another letting go….