November 1, 1988

I got up this morning and headed to Sky’s house to hang out. I pulled up in front of her house and she was sobbing on her porch. I thought something was wrong with her son. He was three months older than Beau and Beau was about to be three months old.

I left Beau strapped in his car seat in my car and ran to Sky. I kneeled down in front of her and kept asking her what was wrong and she couldn’t talk, just kept shaking her head. I ran inside to make sure the baby was ok and he was inside sleeping.

I went back outside and got Beau out of the car. I sat next to Sky and grabbed her hands and asked what was wrong. She told me that Grady was dead. Grady is Austin’s brother and Sky’s ex boyfriend. I know Sky still loved him.

Oh my God, poor Austin. I asked Sky if any one knew yet. She said Austin’s dad had called and told her. Austin didn’t know yet and he wanted to be the one who told him. He didn’t want Austin jumping on his street bike when he was that upset.

Sky and I went in the house to wait for everyone to get home. The plan was to call Austin’s dad the second Austin pulled up. His dad lived five minutes away.

That afternoon Austin got home but he pulled up at the neighbors. Sky called his dad. I was trying to not cry because I knew Austin’s heart was about to be broken forever.

Austin came slamming into the house and he saw me. He charged toward me and said ”Alabama, someone just told me that my brother is dead”. He was looking at me, his eyes begging me to tell me that it wasn’t true. I grabbed him and hugged him and I started sobbing. He tried to push me away, he was yelling that it wasn’t true and he was going to go find his dad. I wouldn’t let him go, I couldn’t let him get on his bike like this.

He got away from me and walked towards the door with me attached to his arm, digging my heels in. I grabbed the back of his shirt. He opened the door and walked right into his dad’s arms. I sat on the couch and listened to these two grown men cry their hearts out.

Grady was really dead. We just lost James only three months ago. This couldn’t be happening. Every time I think of Grady being dead I feel…..nothing. What was wrong with me?

I loved Grady. Everyone did. He was so good-looking and charming and he had no clue that he was so good looking and charming! All us girls were half in love with him and all the boys wanted to be his friend. He had a picture of Beau on his Heineken mirror in his living room. We named Beau after him. Beau Grady Colburn.

Blonde hair and blue eyes with this pretty white smile. He drove this black pick up truck and he stopped and gave everyone a ride when he saw us walking. He was three years older than me. Sometimes us girls would wander around knowing he would stop and give us a ride. We always fought over who got to sit in the middle.

We were always just his little brothers friends, though. He never looked at any of us that way. But we certainly liked to look at him!

He was always so sweet. One time I snuck out of the house to go to a bonfire with an older boy I was seeing. I was 15 and the guy was 19. I remember Austin telling me I was stupid for going to meet him. Looking back, I’m sure he knew way better than me about that boy but I thought I knew everything at that age.

He picked me up down the street and took me to the bonfire. I was the only girl and everyone was drinking. Grady was there and stayed close to me.

The cops showed up and wanted everyone’s ID’s. Everyone had one but all I had was my school ID. The cop asked who I was with. I looked at the boy I came with and he looked down and walked away.

Grady stepped up and said I was his little sister and I was with him. He said I had to call my mom to come get me.

I asked if he could arrest me instead but he said no ma’am . I called my mom and she had to drive out to the bonfire and pick me up. She yelled at me and embarrassed me in front of everyone. I was on restriction forever and on top of that I had to listen to Austin tell me that he told me so over and over.

So why wasn’t I sad?

Luke walked in and someone had already told him. He was crying. We ran Beau to my house so my mom could watch him. On the way back we saw Austin and his dad standing outside so I stopped. Luke got out and all three of them hugged and cried. I cried but I was crying over their pain

Grady had worked in a restaurant. He was working on Halloween and he starting drinking after work. On his way home he fell asleep and crashed his car. He survived the initial crash but he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He was ejected and that’s what killed him.

Two days later we all going to his funeral. It wasn’t an open casket. Luke and Austin left early since they were pall bearers. Sky and I went together.

As we pulled up to the mortuary it hit me that Grady was dead. I think I had been in denial because I started crying as soon as we hit that parking lot and I didn’t stop for days.

Grady was gone forever.

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