The Man Who Stopped The World
February 6, 2018
The Man Who Stopped The World
Chapter 1 "Denial"
The restaurant was loud, people were talking, the music was blaring, and I was still trying to listen to the conversation my family was having. We were trying to pick which free appetizer we each wanted.
“I for sure, want mozzarella sticks,” I said.
My sister agreed with me. She had heard they were good, but she and my stepdad, Gimpy, wanted to get cheese fries. She still wanted some of my mozzarella sticks though.
“You’ve got to share, or else you can’t have any of my cheese fries,” Kylie said.
She laughed at herself, and my stepfather gave her a goofy look.
“Hey look! It’s Devan, I’m gonna go talk to her,” I said.
I sat down next to Devan, and her twin Erin sat across from me. We talked and caught up on each other’s lives. When my food arrived I went back to my table, and when I finished I asked if I could spend the night at Devan’s house.
“Of course. Is she gonna give you a ride home tomorrow?” My mother said.
“I am not sure, but she probably will. We’re gonna go to the house and get some clothes so I’ll see you in a bit,”
I kissed my mother goodbye and told them I’d see them at home. Devan, and Erin and I were gonna stay at the restaurant for a while.
When I got to my house my sister was leaving and my mom and stepdad were in the driveway arguing. I grabbed some PJs, my swimsuit, and some sweats to wear the next day; I told my mother and my stepdad goodbye.
“Bye mom bye gimp, I’ll see you guys have fun at the lake tomorrow!” I said.
“Bye baby girl, I love ya,” Gimpy said
When we got to Devan’s house, we waited for her mom to get home and then we swam in her pool until about midnight, and then we watched the choir spring show. We laughed and picked which ones were our favorite songs, where we were standing during the dances and then we went to sleep.
I woke up to my phone going off at 8:06 in the morning. My sister.
Why was she calling me so early? I answered, confused.
“BECCA YOU HAVE TO COME HOME!!” Kylie screamed.
All I heard was a gurgled mess. It sounded like she was laughing. I found out later she wasn’t laughing, she was crying hysterically.
“What? Why? What’s going on?!” I said.
I sat on Devan’s bed listening intently, more confused and still sleepy.
“BECCA GIMPY’S DEAD OH MY GOD BECCA.”
“What? Kylie, is this a joke? It is too early and that is horrible. Let me sleep.”
I heard a new voice on the phone. A woman. Monotone and unfamiliar.
Now I was annoyed.
“Hello, my name is Elizabeth. I am from MedStar. Your stepfather has passed away. You need to come home.”
Angry I almost hung up the phone.
“Okay, seriously this isn’t funny. This isn’t a good joke, and it is 8 in the morning.”
“Ma’am this isn’t a joke,” Elizabeth said.
It’s too early for this, I kept thinking to myself as I rolled my eyes at Devan who looked at me as confused as I was.
“Then why is my sister laughing. It sounds like she’s laughing. I know you aren’t from MedStar. Who is this?”
Then I heard my mother.
“Becca come home now. Gimpy has passed away.” No yelling. Just the statement.
I could tell she was choking back tears, but it couldn’t be real, it couldn’t possibly be real. She hung up, and I sat confused and scared. Then my grandfather, Peepaw, called me from Mexico; he was at the airport trying to get back.
“I am so sorry baby. I am so sorry, Becca, this shouldn’t have happened,” Peepaw said.
That’s when I knew it was true. I had to go home. Now.
The entire way to my house I went in a cycle, saying it couldn’t be real, that it was just a dream, then I would cry, then I would be calm and the cycle would start all over.
When I arrived, my sister was sitting in the driveway, wailing and sobbing, clutching my mother.
We weren’t allowed to go inside the house, He had died in the kitchen, but we wouldn’t find out until almost 4 months later that he died from a diabetic coma because his blood sugar was too high.
At the beginning, it felt like my world had ended. It had stopped spinning and would never spin again.
The Man Who Stopped the World
Chapter 2 "Depression"
My mom had already called my family: my grandpa and grandma, great-grandparents, my cousin, my aunts, and uncles.
“Your Uncle Michael is on his way from Granbury, Peepaw is stuck in customs, Aunt Lexi will be here Monday, Ma will be here tomorrow and the G-units are coming with her.
As she told me this, my Aunt Lexi texted me. She told me that she loved me and would see me soon, and she was sorry.
Everybody just kept saying they were sorry.
The rest of the day was spent crying as we drove to Burleson to see my Grandma Logozzo and to see Gimpy’s mother, Memaw, who had been at a family reunion with his sister, Traci.
We waited patiently at their house until they arrived. I went out back and sat on the porch. We had been out there just weeks prior eating ribs and playing with my baby cousins, Luke and Martin.
When Memaw and Aunt Traci arrived, they immediately started crying as they hugged my mom and Kylie and me. We tried not to cry, but we couldn’t hold back the tears.
We sat in silence for several minutes then my Memaw spoke.
“He loved you guys very much. I haven’t seen him this happy in a long time. I’m sorry he left us.”
I began to sob quietly.
I went to the bathroom to clean my face and wash my hands. I looked at my face in the mirror, and I was surprised at how old I looked; my eyes were red from crying, my mouth was stuck in a frown, my hair was on top of my head in a loose bun, and I was still in my sweats. I came back out and it was time to go back to the house, but I couldn’t go back, not to the place where my father had died.
At the time I just felt this immense emptiness, like there was a giant sinkhole in my stomach and I was being dragged farther and farther into the black abyss.
The Man Who Stopped The World
Chapter 3 "Anger"
When we got home, it was already almost completely dark outside, so I took a shower. As the hot water ran down my back, I cried. I wanted to scream and shout, but I knew it didn’t matter because he still wouldn’t be coming back. After the shower, I decided to call his phone and leave a message. I told my mom not to answer, but that she could listen to it afterward. I knew she probably didn’t want to.
“Hey Gimp, I love you and I miss you,” I spoke to the phone like he was really listening. I spent at least 10 minutes pouring my heart. I even began to sob again.
When I finally hung up, I went downstairs and told my family goodnight. Then I went upstairs and I locked myself in my room.
All I remember is I couldn’t stop screaming.
Shattered, I screamed till my throat was raw; I begged him to come back, I questioned why God had taken him from me, I pleaded with God to let him come back because I needed him here with us, that my mom needed him too more than he ever knew.
The next morning my Ma and my great grandparents arrived. They hugged me and then began to “pick up the pieces.” Throughout the week people would come to my house to help “pick up the pieces.” The week went by in a slow blur. It was a mixture of crying and people trying to console me, but when Thursday arrived, I was terrified. We drove to the funeral home for Gimpy’s wake. Before we walked in, I told myself to stay strong to keep going, but when I saw him lying in the casket impossibly still, I couldn’t hold it together.
I ran outside and I began to bawl. I felt the tears streaming down my face. My Aunt Teresa grabbed me and held me. After a few minutes, I went back in, but I still couldn’t look at him. I sat with others and talked so I could avoid him.
“Hey honey, I am so sorry for your loss,” my mentor Cherie said.
She had left work early to come and see how I was doing, but she couldn’t stay too long. She hugged me and kissed me on the head and told me that she loved me and that God always has a plan.
After a few minutes, I got up and walked to his casket. It was hard to look inside, but I knew I needed to see him one last time. His eyes were closed and his mouth was pinched together like he was uncomfortable. He was so still, just incredibly still. I touched his hand, part in sadness but also partly in sheer curiosity.
I withdrew my hand instantly.
“He’s so cold,” I said to my aunt.
She hugged me, and my sister rubbed my back. They both attempted to console me, but I wasn’t sad just in shock. I had never felt anybody that cold before.
The Man Who Stopped The World
Chapter 4 "Acceptance"
The next day I woke up early and got dressed for the funeral; I wore a tan skirt, a black shirt, a hat, and sandals because we knew it would be almost 100 degrees outside by the time the funeral was over.
My Aunt Traci walked over to the coffin and put a Sons of Anarchy and an NRA sticker on it because he loved SOA and guns. They also made sure they had his dog’s ashes with him. Harley had passed a few years before, and Gimpy had asked to be buried with him.
During the funeral, I couldn’t hear anything.
Not my grandfather’s eulogy.
Not my sister’s memorial for Gimpy.
Not his brother’s recording.
I only remember hearing my own tears falling from my cheeks and landing softly on my hands. I tried not to cry, but it didn’t matter. That’s the only thing I wanted to do.
Every time I see something that reminds me of him, I still cry a little, a lump forms in my throat and my eyes water.
I miss him, but I know that he would want me and my family to stay strong. He would say “baby girl, stay strong because life goes on and so will you.”
Bryan Charles Coleman is the man who stopped my world, but he is also the man who made it begin.