I went to the parole hearing of one of my son’s murderers, accompanied by my strong supporters: Michelle (the love of Tony’s life, who traveled all the way from New York to be with me), Debra, and Tracy (my Listening Hearts bereaved moms).
Tony was with me from the moment I started the 3.5 hour trip to Only, Tennessee, as I drove to pick up a rental car at the Knoxville airport. As I gathered my luggage from my car, I slipped my hand underneath the driver’s seat, not sure what I was looking for. What I found was my long-lost sister-sister earring: a steel drum and two drumsticks I had purchased during a business trip to Trinidad in January 2011. At the time, I purchased four pairs of the same earrings for my sister and her two daughters, the sister-sister group. I just thought of them as gifts for our sister-sister group. Then, Tony died and I lost one of my earrings. I decided to keep the single steel drum earring because now it reminded me of Tony, my funky drummer, instead of my sister-sister group. All these years later, I found it in 2016, with the much stronger connection to Tony…on the date I needed to hear from him, after vacuuming out my car many times, after sticking my hand underneath the seat many times to look for other things like my phone, my iPod, change, a pen, my debit card and never retrieving the missing earring.
I had never rented a car from the airport, and I was so confused about where to go that I circled the airport four times as I figured out where to go to pick up the vehicle. As I made my way into the airport after parking my own car, a poster greeted me, “Go wild. Obed.” Another sign and the beginning of the four pattern of shout-outs on this journey. A sign because Obed was one of Tony’s favorite places to be in nature, although I didn’t learn that until after his passing.
Debra, Tracy, and I drove to Nashville to pick up Michelle. When we arrived at the Nashville airport, we circled the airport four times while she made her way to the baggage claim level where we were, just as I had circled the Knoxville airport four times. And then there were four of us. The pattern of four continued on this journey.
Later that night, we took a scenic drive to watch the sun set and saw the most awesome painted skies. One view was of a sideways four, as the four of us stood by the rental car, contemplating and listening to a gaggle of geese in a field of tall grass. The connection of four during this trip for justice seemed to me to have something to do with messages about life and love. Just as the sun was setting and the sky becoming ashen, the geese took off in flight as one, ascending to the skies with their loud squawks just as the brilliant colors that had illuminated the sky were extinguished.
Just as the loud cacophony of the gaggle of geese was extinguished with their flight, Tony’s larger than life personality was extinguished with one bullet to the femoral artery.The peaceful silence that surrounded us and the darkness that began to take hold in the sky as the last flock took flight signaled the transition from this plain to a higher plain, as certainly as Tony’s transition from living to passing signaled his transition from this world to a higher realm.
Whole. Complete. Never to be harmed again.