The Letting Go

I read the news just like you do.  I’m writing this mainly to update you on the news about the charges, those of you who knew Theo.  Or those of you who care vicariously because you care about me.

I wonder why so many of the top stories and above the fold stories (I’m talking about online sites mainly) are random crimes.  Not just the major stuff like a guy going around killing, stabbing and slicing black men.  That’s as much of an alert as it is news.  “Good morning.  Be on the look out for a man who looks something like this stabbing you to death.  More at 11.”

I play a game with the news.  I’m not going to pretend that I’m not drawn to all the macabre stories, too.  For some reason we are.  But since the news is so vapid and cursory I like to fill in the blanks with my own theories — my own amateur profiling — and then if the story gets covered any further I compare my own theories with what actually happened.

There were three paragraphs or so in the Baltimore Sun about Theo last week.  And one more article that had a little more detail.  Not sure how long these links will be available but here they are.  I signed up for a Google alert but haven’t gotten any updates yet.,0,6187973.story

If you read those brief articles you’ll learn next to nothing.  All it did was raise a lot of questions when all I want to know is what the hell happened.  There’s no humanity there in those articles.  That’s what I find infuriating.  Not that I expect the cover of Time Magazine and 20 pages of biography.  But for goodness sake.  Just a little effort.  The tiniest bit.

Linda sent an update the other day saying that Walter Kelly Jr. was arrested on 1st degree murder charges.  I’m glad to hear that.  That hasn’t been in the papers, by the way.  Not that I can find.  She got a call.  Hell.  You’d think the public would want to know that a murderer was being charged with murder and not roaming the streets.  Or just have enough information to be informed.

When I first heard about — when I heard that Theo was in Shock Trauma with a severe brain injury with part of his skull removed to allow his brain to swell without hemorrhaging, I just wanted to know who did this.  It was an obsession.

I went to Theo’s funeral last night in Baltimore.  It’s good to know that one doesn’t have to grieve alone.  I really liked the boards up with some of his artwork and photos that I had never seen.  I don’t know why I was surprised to see so many pictures of him.  I wanted to put some here.  That’s not inappropriate, right?  Pardon the quality of the iPhone photos of photos in dim light.

Linda played a recording of a beautiful song she wrote and sang a capella.  Seriously.  I was holding it together until that point.

His family has accepted the reality and so have I.  I guess.  It doesn’t feel real but the funeral … that’s where you accept the fact that you have to accept the fact.

I felt overdressed.  In my family, you always dress up for anything remotely related to a formal church-like or reverent occasion: services, weddings, funerals.  Shirt and tie and most likely a jacket, too.  When I drove past the funeral home a few times looking for parking everybody was casual or way casual.

I thought to myself, “Man, it’s a different world.”

It’s not that kind of crowd.  I briefly considered taking off the tie and leaving the jacket in the car.  Then I thought, you know what?  This is how I do.  There were people there from different walks of life.  Some struggling, some comfortable.  Whatever I represented in Theo’s life I decided I was going to represent.  To show respect in the way I show respect.  You know?  And I’m glad I did.  There should be at least one of those people at every funeral.  One of those suit and tie kind of people.

That will be me, apparently.

They didn’t do the burial last night.  My great-uncle, Uncle Bub, at funerals would always stay until the coffin was lowered into the ground.  In the cold, in the rain, in the heat and wind.  Didn’t matter.  When everyone else had mourned their way back to their cars he’d be standing there.  I did that for Uncle Bub in return and I wanted to do it for Theo.  The need didn’t arise, though.

So I suppose there’s the letting go.  Not forgetting.   Not failing to reflect.  But not clinging.


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  1. tslajs

    Since your original post I’ve been kind of at a loss as to how to respond to something so senseless. I still am. I wish I had something to offer you besides my sympathies. All I can say is that by sharing his story you’ve helped raise the consciousness of us all a little.

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