joe-lethbridge

I will apologize up front. This is a longer piece of writing than I (pictured above) would normally post . Even this was shortened from I had originally planned to post. The subject matter is so close to my heart.

As I sit here typing this my eyes are burning from the salt in my tears . I see prisms of light as I watch the monitor as I type. As fast as I wipe my tears away; more flow. They are not tears of sadness . Rather; a mixture of sadness and gratitude.

Today I went down to the lobby and opened my mailbox and took out the junk mail and the monthly bills and a parcel deliver card . I guess the mailman was too lazy to walk up the stairs and knock on my door. I went back upstairs ; finished drinking my coffee and wondered what the parcel could be. I wasn’t expecting anything as I seldom mail order anything. I put it out of my mind and carried on my day ; setting the postcard on my night stand.

I went to my moms for a visit ; wandered around Main Street and talked to two of the café owners for a bit then I headed home ; picked up the parcel delivery card and headed to the postal outlet to pick it up .

I went to the counter and rang the bell because there was no one behind the counter . I handed her my card and she went through a cabinet and found it and said “You have to sign for this . I need some identification” I showed her my photo health card and signed the electronic signature tablet on the counter. She handed me the parcel which wasn‘t a parcel at all . It was a bubble pack envelope . I checked who sent it to me and the return address. I almost passed out and I think the counter person knew it. “are you okay sir ? “ she asked . “Yeah I am fine Thanks“ was all I could say . I left the outlet and headed home ; tearing the envelope open as I walked . I pulled out a duo tang folder . On the cover was a bright green Post-It note . “Joe -I sent this registered mail because I wanted to make sure you would get it and I know Cody would have too . Brian

I knew I had to get home before I read any further. I was not going to lose my composure in public.
I got back to my apartment and flopped onto my futon ; just holding the envelope and duo tang in my hand and thought to myself “ Do I really want to read this .”

Cody was my online friend who committed suicide just two days before my own birthday this year May 29th after coming out to his parents and friends. Although we had never met on a face to face basis ; we made a heart to heart and soul to soul connection. I know a lot of people may not understand that but we did and that is all that matters.

I knew I had to read it .Cody’s brother had said that he would want me to have it and read it . I have talked to Cody’s brother off and on since May and he had expressed his own guilt over it . Cody had told me that he had never told his brother at first because he didn’t want his bother to feel the same “wrath of his parents “ as he did . Cody loved his brother so much. I don’t think there was ever a time I talked to Cody that he didn’t sing the praises of his brother.

I told Cody’s brother this which did make him feel better but still he felt the guilt . It was his only brother . I know he is still grieving .

I opened the duo tang and started to read . It was handwritten with little doodles drawn in each corner. I started to read and recalled the exact words I had spoken and he had spoken on MSN messenger . He had written or maybe saved the MSN chat log and had written down some of the jokes we told each other . His response for every blonde joke was “I don’t know let me ask Britney “ I remember the one time he said “ hey Joe you gotta see this to get the full effect ; accept my webcam invite”

There he was somewhere in the Midwest USA standing in front of his cam , t-shirt pulled up above his belly button making it look like he had a halter top on ; dancing like a fool . That was his Britney imitation. It was a two way street . He made me laugh when I thought I couldn’t and I did the same for him .

I went back to reading what I received. I had to stop and wipe my eyes . I had sent him a few links to places my poems were posted and wrote him a personalized one . I told him I always write to get things off my chest and maybe he could do the same . He said he couldn’t write ; but what I was reading through glossy eyes said different. He wrote :

“They say family is blood and kin
But what you mean to me, I don’t know where to begin
You may be far away from here
But in my thoughts and prayers you are so near ……… “

The poem went on but I will not say everything that was said in it . There were eleven pages of writing he did. He had written some things that he never got to tell me . He had written ideas on how he wanted to change the world and peoples negative views of others. Cody was only 19 but he was smarter than most people two or three times his age. He had listed things he wanted to do by the time he was 20 and 30 and 40 years old . He never made it to 20 . He did achieve a lot in his life; more so than a lot of other people . He was accepting of everyone regardless !! He volunteered before and after school and on weekends. He was a giver ; never asking anything in return . When he came out he was only asking for acceptance. Most never gave him that .

“Joe I don’t know you but and it might be weird but umm after talking to you for awhile I love you as a person so don’t freak on me okay “ I had to laugh out loud when I read that . I get the same reaction sometimes when I tell my guy friends I love them . Its like I get a “WHOA down boy ! “ when I say that. Love is Love and love is an attraction of the heart -not the loins. Its not my issue if you take it in a manner other than I mean.

Cody had written a lot and I had learned a lot . On the last page Cody wrote “Joe I hope you don’t think our talks and emails are not just all about me even though I talk about me. They are about both of us. There’s more in the world than just me “

I know Cody is not here anymore but I know his impact he made on me remains .

Cody, I know I never met you and it might be weird but after talking to you and writing you like we did; I love you too ; just don’t freak on me. Like you said Love is an attraction of the heart and man you had so much to give .

Brother to Brother

I wrote this after my online friend Cody committed suicide in May of 2009 after coming out gay to his family and “friends”. I still talk to his brother once in awhile and he related to me how he feels and shared some of his memories with his brother Cody. It was Cody’s brother who found him dead in his bed .

Kneeling by the bedside; I looked into your eyes
No longer were you breathing; you were headed for the skies

I clutched your hand and held it firmly
I knew your life was quite the journey

You thought of all the things you did
When you were just the “little kid”

You found the injured robin and asked “ Why doesn’t he sing ?’
We took him home and found; he had a broken wing

We played tag for hours in the field and endless hide and seek
There was a time you ran away from home but said “I be back in a week “

You didn’t want to miss the school trip to the state park
We’ spend the whole day there; getting home just before dark

We took that trip together-you were seven ; I was ten
If only you were here right now-we would do that all again

I hope you know, I AM PROUD to be your brother
Even if I could have; I would not have chose another

Kneeling by the bedside I look into your eyes
No longer are you breathing; you are headed for the skies

You told me you had a secret; you could no longer keep inside
“Tell me little ‘bro; I love you and tell you this with pride”

I clutched your hand and held it tight
How you were treated just isn’t right

You are caring and giving; one never to argue
For all of this and more; I say that I Love You

“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t miss you ‘bro “

Submitted By: Joe Lethbridge

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