It was a clear morning on May 1st, 1987. The sky was a cold light blue, not summer blue. It was close to freezing.
I went into town at 8:30 and got a licence tag for the world’s junkiest wood truck, then went to Mom and Dad’s where the truck was parked for the month of April.
I had a deal to buy a wood rack from Cory Henderson. I got Glen to help me take the stakes off the back of the truck so I could haul the wood rack. Then I asked him to be there when I got back from Cory’s to help put the other rack on.
It took longer than expected to go to Cory’s and back. When I got to Wilson road there was no sign of Glen or the two dogs.
I went in to see if Glen was inside. Glen’s note was on the kitchen table, written on blue paper. As soon as I read it I knew it was real.
I went outside, looked around and yelled for Glen and the dogs, then I drove the truck through the fields to Glen’s party shack.
Glen was lying in the dry timothy, face down on top of Dad’s old Lee Enfield. There was a small bloody hole in the back of his faded purple sweatshirt. His hands were already cold. For reasons I still don’t know, I wanted to see my brother’s face. I rolled him on his back. I don’t know if I expected pain, relief, or sadness to show in his face, but there was no expression at all.
The dogs were howling from inside the shack so I let them out, then had a heck of a time to get them away from Glen. They seemed excited about the smell of blood and gunpowder and the other sour smell. They wouldn’t get in the truck with Harvey though they got along with him earlier. I had to drag both of them back to the shack and lock them in again.
When I got in the truck I sat looking at Glen for a few minutes. He looked tiny, like a rag doll, I was sure I could pick him up with one hand. He had a sweatshirt, jeans and boots on and I wished I had a warm blanket to put on him.
When I got back to the house, Mom was outside in her housecoat. She worked nights at the post office but I must have woke her up when I was yelling for Glen. She had seen the note and knew it was real.
I couldn’t use the word dead about Glen so I said he was done, finished. Mom’s whole body shook and, before I could reach her, she fell over right on her face in the gravel by her car. I thought she would be really messed up but she came to right away. I helped her in and got her to sit on the couch while I phoned Dad at work and the police. Dad arrived before the police. I told the guy at the electrical shop to tell him that Mom was sick. I made him sit down before I told him what had happened.
I told the police I had to go tell Grandma Wilson she had lost another grandson before I could go with them to give a statement. She had lost a 21 year old son in 1965, her husband ( of 55 years) in 1977, and 19 and 22 year old grandsons in 1985.
Glen had bipolar disorder for years but the cause of his suicide had something to do with him turning 30 on April 17th that year. He had made a trip to visit some friends in Winnipeg but nobody guessed why he went there then, he was planning his death for weeks.
I never blamed Glen for setting me up to find him, because it was better than Dad or Mom finding him. I haven’t forgiven him for hurting us so bad though. In the note he said that he loved us all and that it was nobody’s fault. Glen didn’t belong to himself, he belonged to a family that loved him and he had no right to take himself away from us.
Some parts of what happened 25 years ago seem like the week before last.