In June 1980, Ricky left for the navy. I was happy for my big brother, but I was really going to miss the times we hung out together. Ricky, Charlie, Bruce and I, the youngest of eight siblings, were all close as kids and did everything together. We supported each other through sports, school and family crises. We wouldn’t even open up Christmas presents without one another.
To see Ricky start a whole new adventure without us was sad but exciting, and it was something we knew he desperately needed. He was always full of adventure, vibrant and enthusiastic and had a hunger to see and do new things. Little did I know that I would never view him in this light again.
Not quite a year and a half later, it was a warm fall day in Colorado, and the leaves were turning yellow, orange and red. Our family was doing well: My brother Jim lived in Seattle and worked at a bank. My brother Gene was finishing up a master’s degree in Tennessee. My sister Theresa was happily married and living in Littleton, CO. My brother Jeff was working on helicopters in Louisiana. My brother Charlie was attending a technical school in Denver. My brother Bruce was working construction in Littleton, and Ricky served on the USS Blue Ridge command ship in Japan.
I was 15 and had started my sophomore year at Heritage High School, where I was meeting new friends, checking out boys and looking forward to a range of new experiences. There were parties to go to and football games to attend. Life was good.
Then one day, Mom and Dad received a very odd letter from Ricky. He had written with a thick, black marker, and his sentences were barely comprehensible. He said that things were not balanced: The devil was taking over the world, and there was a major war going on between good and evil. One weird thought followed another.
The whole family was upset and did not know what to think about what was happening with Ricky. I just prayed to God that he was okay. ...To read the full article, login or become a member --- it's free!
Learn more about the book Silent Voices by visiting author Debbie Nau Redmond