Saturday, October 31, 2009

21 Years


21 years.

That's a long time. A lifetime for some. For others, 21 years surpasses a lifetime.

I was a senior in college at 21 and excited to take a new Creative Writing course. Not surprisingly, much of my writing had turned darker than I had typically written before Ken's death. And much of it centered on him. I don't remember often consciously choosing to write about him, but that's where my thoughts naturally went.

One of our assignments that October was to write a description of a ghost. It certainly isn't my best writing; in fact, I recall that my professor didn't really "get it." But I think those of you reading will. So, in memory of my brother's suicide on Halloween, here was my response.

by Kristin Spengler

He treads sluggishly on his journey and slowly slithers through trees, hoping not to be discovered by any eye which can still see the future. Light is his enemy, as he is only comfortable with darkness as an escort. He hangs his head in shame so that he will not have to face his decision. His stature is slouched as he belabors every step on this world from his past. He freezes at the house which used to be his home; darkness has taken its place. His musty scent lingers as he roams through the incomplete household. His favorite obsession has become bursting into the dreams of others as quickly and suddenly as he abandoned his own. As he slowly lifts his head, his glowing red eyes strain to focus on me, then back at the ground. The pain he left behind for me seeps into all of the walls and possesses me until I have to gasp for air. I attempt to free myself of the nightmare we share and jut straight up in bed with only his words, "I'm sorry," gushing out of the door into the unknown.

From Emily (Morrison) Corbe

Kristin, I think this is a wonderful idea. I got to know your brother, Ken, pretty well. My best friend at the time was Wendi Grusy, and along with John Chabbott, we saw him a lot, every weekend for a while. My memories are his height and his deep voice, which were so very comforting and non-threatening, which is ironic....He saw the good in everyone. If you were bummed out (which I frequently was due to my unrequited crush on his friend!) he'd take the time to try and cheer me up. He was fiercely loyal and extremely intelligent. That much came through to me loud and clear. He loved Dire Straits, I remember his lunch table with all the Latin guys in the far right side, I remember laughing with him at "the Spot," his bellowing laugh! I was very distressed when I heard the sad news. His memory has stayed with me, maybe because I moved away so soon, although I think Ken's warmth and wit stays with everyone who knew him well; I am sure of it.

From Beth Canalichio

I remember mostly that Ken used to tease me about being a "freshman." Although being a freshman was akin to being the scum of the earth, he was always kind to me. Ken was so cool, laid back, and just an all-around nice guy. I stopped in to see him in Rehoboth when he was living there one summer. He was happy to see me and very welcoming. We share birthdays; I see from Kristin's post that he would have been 41. I am 38. I was shocked when he died and remember the funeral. I felt so sad. It brings a smile to my face to remember Ken!!!! Kristin - It is so awesome that you are keeping his memory alive!