Wyatt

My middle son. My rebel. He is the polar opposite of both of his brothers. They are sociable, they hate being alone, they are free spirited and a little wild.

Wyatt does not drink and he would never do drugs. He is blonde haired and green eyed. He is only 5’8″ and I’d be surprised if he weighs 130. He is a strong guy, though.

Wyatt is thinker. He has a small circle of friends. He doesn’t trust many people. He is more like me.

He has a quick temper. He holds grudges. He is loyal to a fault unless you betray him. Then he is done with you.

He is the best dad ever. His son is his world. Bubba, 3 years old now, goes with his daddy everywhere. Wyatt teaches him. Everything. Everywhere they go Wyatt is pointing things out. Colors, cars, things, words. The dynamic duo, those two.

Wyatt is so mechanical. He can fix anything. He tore everything apart when he was little.

He flips cars for a living and makes a pretty good living. Bubba is with his daddy all day working on cars while Rae works at the local hardware store.

I think Wyatt is the kid that would take me in and take care of me if I needed the help. Beau and Drew would also, but Wyatt would just feel like it was his job to take care of me.

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Beau

My oldest kid. As I call him, my tester kid. I brought him home from the hospital when I was 17 years old and completely clueless. I had no idea how to change a diaper, make a bottle or bath him. I fed him three jars of baby food everyday, starting the day I brought him home because I didn’t know any better.

I have a different relationship with him than I do his brothers. I was so young. I don’t think I was as motherly as I was with his brothers. Beau is so protective of me.

He is a big guy. 6’2″ and 220 pounds. Blonde hair and blue eyes. He is always smiling. He is a chef at a resort and very serious about his job but he is good at it.

He loves the outdoors. He camps and fishes and hikes and snowboards. He gets that from Luke.

After Luke died, Drew, our youngest, struggled. He started drinking too much and I didn’t know how to fix it. Wyatt, brother number two, just told him he needed get it together. That’s what Wyatt did.

But Beau swooped in and took his little brother up north with him. He moved him in with him and his girlfriend, Autumn, hired him and just spent time with him. Drew is doing so much better now. I am so proud of him.

All my boys are close, but Beau and Drew have always had this special bond since they are so much alike.

Sometimes I look back and wonder how Beau survived Luke and I!!!

April 15, 2017

I’m a creature of habit. Same thing every day. If anything changes I worry that something bad will happen.

I’m working today. I hate getting up so early on Saturdays. I’m so afraid I’m not going to hear my alarm so I set it for 3 different times. The first one goes off at 4:00am then 2 more over the next few minutes. And I snooze. You always hated that I hit snooze.

I lay in bed until midnight. I don’t sleep well anymore. I wake up at 3:33am. I try to sleep for the next 20 minutes but that doesn’t happen. I snooze until 4:20.

I get up and do the same thing I do every work day. I walk over and turn the wall heater on and put my phone charger in my bag. Grab my robe and towel and put them in the bathroom. When I go downstairs I hold on to the railing like kids do and I swing. I don’t swing because it’s fun. I swing because my feet hurt. It makes me feel old. I’m only 46. I step to the side on the 2nd step since it creaks so loudly.

I turn the downstairs wall heater on, then the coffee pot. I head back upstairs. Go pee, jump in the shower. I wash my hair, my face, exfoliate my face and rinse it all. Then I put conditioner in, shave my arms and legs, wash my body and rinse.

I get out and dry off from the feet up, put the towel on my hair and then put my robe on. I use q-tips to clean my ears then lotion my face and neck. I swing down the stairs, stepping on the side of the 2nd step. I grab my coffee cup on the counter and rinse it out while I get my creamer out of the fridge.

I shut the water off and pour my coffee then my creamer then my sugar. The last few weeks, every morning I tell myself I’m going to buy some coffee stirrers so I don’t have to dirty a spoon. They must be like $2.00 on Amazon for like 1,000 of them I bet. I never remember to buy them. I’m so forgetful lately.

I walk up the stairs into my room. I tell my husband good morning. I pick my clothes out. Today it’s a black shirt with lace at the shoulders, ripped at the knee boyfriend jeans and black sandals. I put my makeup on, the same way I do every day. Foundation, then lipstick, eyeshadow, just a brown streak in the crease of my lid. Eyeliner, then mascara.

I take my robe off and put my underwear and shirt on. I take the towel off my head and realize I forgot to condition my hair. And I forgot to shave. I sit on my bed and blow-dry my hair. I cry as I do this.

When my hair is dry I put my jeans and sandals on. It’s still pitch black out but I open my blinds and my window. My plant needs the sun. I like the fresh air.

I turn the heat off and grab my purse and bag. I walk to the bed. I put my fingers to my lips and then my fingers to my husband’s lips, thru the glass in the picture frame. I tell him to have a good day.

Alabama

 

I am Alabama Colburn. It’s hard to describe yourself but I’m gonna try and paint you a picture.

I am 47 but when I tell people my age they never believe me. Everyone tells me I look like I’m in my 30’s which makes me feel good. I think it’s because Luke and my boys kept me on my toes for three decades straight.

I am naturally blonde but I rarely have blonde hair. Right now is dark brown and blonde underneath. I have blue eyes . I am 5’4″ and thicker than I want to be but I am working on that.

I love baseball and go to as many games as I can. I love being in a packed stadium with screaming fans. I love the smell of hot dogs and beer and popcorn. It’s so American. Standing for the national anthem, the players standing on the field with their hats over their hearts. All the fans standing, doing the same. The commaradarie. The seven inning stretch when we all stand and sing “Take me out to the Ballgame”. Root root root for the Mets!! I love that.

I play fast pitch softball. This is my first year playing and I have to say I’m not half bad.

I also love music. I loved it as a kid and kind of lost it as an adult. Now I never turn it off. I’m listening to Taylor Swift as I write this. My music plays all night while I sleep and I have my ear buds in all day at work. I love all kinds of music. County, rock, pop, alternative. If there is story in the song, I love it. Music has gotten me writing again. I hear a song and it triggers a memory and off I go.

I go to every concert I can. I love being jammed in an arena or a stadium or an outdoor venue or even a small club. Every one screaming and clapping. We all know the words and sing them. We wave our arms and hold up our cell phones with our lights on. When I was a teenager we held up our lighters. We all had burnt fingers tips by the end of the night.

I walk out with my ears ringing. A little buzzed from all the smoke around me. I like drinking at concerts. Not getting drunk but just a drink or two to make me a little giggly. It doesn’t take much now a days.

My adrenalin is always going when I walk out. Everyone talking too loud and smiling.

My boys have always been my life. From the moment Beau was born, my life became about my boys. I’ve never missed one baseball or football game. I’ve gone to every school program they had. Decades worth. They are all such good boys.

I’ve worked for the same company for two decades. I do not love my job but I love the people I work with.

My boys are all grown. My husband is gone. For the first time in my life its all about me. Since life is short, I’m gonna make the best of it.

April 2017

I am numb. I don’t even cry anymore. I get up and go to work. I stay as busy as I can. Every one walks on eggshells around me. We all wear phony smiles.

I go home and I work on my house. I have painted almost every room. I have gotten every bit of carpet out of my house and pulled up all the nail strips. When I go to my room I am exhausted. I lay down by by 9pm but don’t usually fall asleep until midnight.

I always wake up no later than 3am and I never fall back asleep. I am a walking zombie. My mind feels numb and fuzzy all the time. I am scared because I don’t want to go through life numb and tired.

1983

I went to a private school. I was 13 years old when I met Luke.

My mom grew up without a lot of money. She made sure she didn’t struggle financially as an adult. My step dad ran a car dealership and has always made good money. We lived in a brand new house on the outskirts of town.

We were driving home after my mom picked me up from school and I saw this boy standing in this garage. He was staring out across the field. He was wearing cut off shorts and a red, cut up T-shirt. He had dirty blonde hair.

He never even looked my way.

Time stood still. Everything got quiet. I held my breath.

That was going to be my husband. I said those exact words to my mom. Do you know what she said? She said “Don’t be an idiot, Alabama, you don’t even know that boy.”

Well I proved her wrong and I married that boy…

Luke

How do I even begin? Luke was everyone’s friend.  He never met a stranger.  He brought so many people home I never knew what to expect when I walked in from work.  He could talk to anyone and for hours at a time. He rarely judged anyone and rarely held a grudge. Unlike me.

He was the life of the party.  If we were with friends or at a party and I needed to find Luke I just needed to find  the big group of people because I knew Luke was in the middle of them all.  

Luke was also up for anything.  Well, almost anything.  It had to be fun.  Luke’s kind of fun.  Luke was wild.  He loved dirt bikes, camping, anything to do with water, snow mobiles. If it was fast and dangerous Luke was there.  He once called me from Clint’s, excited, because he saw a bull in a yard and he had jumped on it and rode it.  

It never crossed his mind that he might get hurt and not be able to work.  Or that he was generating large hospital bills from getting hurt.  He didn’t think, he just did.

There was a darkness to Luke, though.  A sadness. If he wasn’t out being wild, he wasn’t happy.  If he had to be at home, he was irritable.  I always felt like I had to entertain him or he would leave.  He told me one time that he was never, ever happy.  It made me feel terrible, like he didn’t love me.  Like I wasn’t enough for him. He said he loved me more than anything in the world but he just couldn’t be happy on the inside.

It took me decades to realize that he just couldn’t love himself. He couldn’t sit still because he would start thinking about life and how he wasn’t happy and how he felt like he was never good enough for me.  Or his boys.  But I know he loved us as much as he could. 

His mom told me once that he was like that as a little boy. He would get piles of presents for Christmas from his grandparents and he would open a couple then walk away to sit by himself.  They would go out to eat and he wouldn’t want to be there so he’d just go to sleep in the booth.  

My husband.  My  soul mate.  The boy I fell in love with.  We grew from childhood into adulthood together.  From 13 until 46 he was the center of my universe.  

We went from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife. He was always going to be a part of my life no matter what.  It was destiny. Fate. Whatever you want to call it.  It was always going to be that way.  

We went through teenage pregnancy, breakups, death of friends and family, abortion, epic fights, cancer. And finally alcoholism. He was always there.  Not always physically, but we were always in each others hearts and minds. 

Until the day he wasn’t.  Until the day he went to sleep and didn’t wake up.