6 years ago today was the worst day of my life… The man, who I believe had a huge hand in making me who I am today, was killed. I was left alone to pick up the pieces of his life and the life we lived together.
I woke up this morning and went about my normal routine. I went down to the kitchen, opened the fridge, and for whatever reason realized the date. A sense of sadness, sickness, and overwhelming emotion came over me. I felt weak and Nov. 15, 2006 came rushing back in my mind. Every year Nov. 15th affects me slightly differently. The day usually hits like a ton a bricks and it ends the same way.
On Monday, November 15, 2006 I talked to RaShawn (RJ) Brown for the last time at 9:00am… I heard his voice for the last time, not knowing that later that day he would be gone forever. It was the day of my sister’s signing party. She was going to the University of Tennessee on a softball scholarship. A day that was so important to my family turned to horror before it could be happy. RJ was supposed to meet at Dave & Busters to help us set everything up. He never showed and as I continued to call him over and over again, I knew in my gut that something terrible had happened. There would be nothing in the world that would keep him from being there on that special night. It was probably the 20th phone call when a woman answered and gave me the news that would change my life forever. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on Foothill and Day Creek. When I heard those words, the most heart breaking words I had ever heard, I collapsed. I don’t remember what came next. What I do remember is sitting on a bench in front of Dave & Busters and feeling like my entire world stopped spinning. I felt nauseous, confused, broken, and terrified. I felt pain that I have never felt before or since that day. The pain was so physical that it often haunts me. As people started getting to the event I remember their faces. They looked at me with such concern and it felt like everything was moving in slow motion. My mom was on and off the phone with police. My dad seemed to be pacing. My cousin was sitting next to me rubbing my back. And my sister was hysterical. I could see all of this going on but I don’t remember any sound. As my best friends started pulling up, I remember making eye contact with one, and her face seemed to reflect mine. There was horror and sadness and pain on her face and she hadn’t even known what had happened yet. Later she told me that the second she saw me, she knew something absolutely horrible had happened. As time slowly crept by, I realized that this was my sisters night. I wanted to be there and be present for this huge honor that was about to take place. That night I read the speech that RJ helped me write. We watched the slideshow of pictures which contained a few of him and my sister. And I left that night feeling too many emotions to count. Getting into bed that night was surreal. Waking up the next morning was unreal. The whole thing felt like a bad dream, but when I walked out to the kitchen and saw my moms face, I knew it was all very real.
It took me months to feel somewhat normal again. With my family and friends there for me every second, I got better. The physical hurt became emotional hurt and eventually the hurt became a slight pain which eventually became a painful memory. Dealing with insurance, our bills, the funeral, and his family was difficult but as I rolled through the emotions, I somehow got through it. For a year after, I acted out. I cried all the time. I hated being by myself. I hated being me. I watched shows and movies that made me sad. I so badly wanted to be sad for reasons other than losing that man.
RJ had a huge impact on my life. He taught me things about myself that I don’t think anyone else could have. I grew up and realized what really mattered in life. Because of him I became the woman that my husband would fall in love with. I often ask why?… I think back to that day and I run it over and over again in my mind. I question the time I had with RJ and I ask God why he put him in my life for such a short time and then ripped him out of it in an instant. I will never know the real answers to my questions but I have come up with ones that make me feel better. RJ was an angel put in my life to help create the person I was meant to be. I learned from him, I loved him, and I lost him. Three things that build strength and courage.
In 2008 I met the man who is now my husband. He is very different from RJ but he is the absolute perfect person for me. He is really the man I’ve pictured since I was a little girl. We have a fairy tale type love and I am amazed by it everyday. He is understanding and supportive of the pain I feel because of that day in November of 2006. I am blessed in more ways than one. I believe everything happens for a reason. Today is a sad day but one that continues to bring new positivity every year. It is a day of reflection and one that makes me want to be a better person. This day reawakens something in me and I become more aware of the things I have.