Barry and Sharon

20190529_180025                                                     © jb katke

Disclaimer: The pictured gun was not the weapon used in this story. Additionally, names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Sharon didn’t wake up until she sat bolt upright in bed.

“Barry! Are you alright?”

The stillness of night returned.

It couldn’t have been a dream, the shot was too real. “Barry, answer me, are you okay?”

All was quiet. As she sat pondering what to do, a second shot rang out.

Never again would Sharon hear her brother’s voice. Or her father’s.

The reality was Sharon and Barry lived a nightmare life. Their dad was mentally unstable. The siblings learned at an early age to look after each other.

Their paternal grandparents were well-known and influential in the community. The stigma of their son in a mental institution would have been more than they could bear.

Instead they live with this.

It was the Viet Nam era and Barry was in his senior year of high school. His dad was under doctor’s care and doing quite well. But as father’s do, got thinking…

Soon Barry would be eligible for the draft. The thought of his son going to war was too much for this dad to handle. There was only one way he could see to spare him of that horror.

Now reality set in. What he did was reprehensible and the remaining family will suffer from his action.

The next morning I learned what had taken place down the street. There are no words for that kind of pain and loss. At the funeral I merely held Sharon’s hand. The following year Sharon and I graduated high school and we lost contact with each other.

After all these years, I still pray for the family. I’ve heard there is a reason for everything. Maybe that is why we have established interventions now? Perhaps our world needed a wake-up call to learn better treatments for mental illness.

Or should we just depend upon God for all the things that we don’t understand, because he does?