Monday, August 08, 2005


My brother Bartholomew: May 11, 1979--August 8, 2003.

Here's what I wrote last year around this time:

While I cannot remember what I had for dinner two nights ago, I can recall clearly where I was, what I was thinking, and what was said when I found out that Bart had died. In Seattle, the morning of August 8 was beautiful, sunny, yet balmy. There was a slight chill in the air under the warmth of the day. That day, I was going to see "Pirates of the Caribbean" with a friend, but since our baby daughters were napping at different times, we opted to go to the 2:30 pm showing instead of 12:30, as originally planned. At around 12:30 pm, Aunt Brigit called. She asked me if Bede was home, and then said, "I have some news. It is very bad. Bart is dead."

Of course, my first reaction was, "No, he's not." I had spoken to him that past Monday. He called while Lucia was crying, and I could barely hear him (he had a low voice), so I said loudly that I couldn't hear him, and asked if we could we call him back in a bit. On Wednesday, August 6, Bart called again. Bede chatted with him about Catholic theology, but then had to get off the phone because we were putting Lucia to bed (often a 2 hour ordeal.) Bart called us almost every day. We had every reason to think that we would speak to him again. But the night of Thursday, August 7, he went out to a movie. The morning of August 8, Bart left his house for work. He got off the green line Metro train at the Fort Totten platform in Washington, D.C. to transfer to the Northbound red line. But instead of getting on the northbound train, he jumped in front of it. Bede, Lucia and I flew out East the next morning, and attended the funeral Mass on Tuesday, August 12. Over 200 people attended Bart's funeral at the Catholic church of St. Jerome.

Bart was constantly accosted with intrusive thoughts. but he was also focused on being a force for good in the world. As much as he suffered, he would not have wanted to inflict that suffering upon anyone else. Perhaps it was a spontaneous jump, perhaps it was planned. Everyone's got a version of the story, based upon the frame of his or her particular world view. This is one of the times in which I don't want stories. I want "just the facts."

1980: Alkelda with her brothers.

1998: Alkelda with her brothers.

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