Remember when you were young
You shone like the sunPink Floyd: Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pts. 1-5, David Gilmour/Roger Waters/Nick Wright.
CONTENT WARNING: suicide, physical abuse.
After a death, you remember the times the dead had shined bright. The good stuff. The playful stuff. The moments that transcend whatever pettiness you accuse yourself of having.
I called him Summer Tucker, and he did shine like the sun. Summer Tucker was a force all his own. He was beautiful. A golden child, his presence was always noted. I loved him.
Here’s the thing though. Tucker, my brother, wasn’t always very nice. To me, he was downright terrifying when I was a child. Tucker was my biggest tormentor, the biggest bully of them all (and I was bullied by a lot of people).
The day my brother tragically became another suicide statistic, I felt like I had moved on from his childhood beatings. I let it go and all I remembered was Summer Tucker. Until Tucker came back, like every time before.
Summer Tucker was a memory from the truly idyllic summers we spent at our grandparents’ farm. Under the gaze of the great Mount Hood, we were adored. Tucker was a little more adored by Grandpa and Grandma White than I was, but that was the way of it, too.
Summer Tucker was a brother instead of being the other Tucker. Summer Tucker was magnificent, leading me and my cousin on grand adventures in the orchards, farms, creeks, and rivers. I was still in his shadow, but it didn’t loom.
I don’t ever once remember Tucker beating me in the summer. I do remember that we returned from Odell, OR. and the very moment the car stopped at home, I was curled in a fetal position on the dirt driveway. That was just the way of it.
Of course, I wanted to remember Summer Tucker. I needed Summer Tucker.
Time moved on, going from Summer Tucker and back. We grew older and fights became infrequent, if no less vicious. We were separated as teenagers and set out on different paths in life. Our lives still intersected, sometimes poorly, but never again violently.
Summer Tucker still showed up. His glow was dimmed, but no less resplendent in old age. It was easy to remember Summer Tucker. Then he put a gun to his head.
I am grateful that I was left with Summer Tucker, him having cut away from me years before his eventual end. But ten years later, I am still haunted by the other Tucker. I am not here to give a guess as to what motivated that Tucker. That is a discussion about abusive homes that would require more words than I have.
They talk about the five stages of grief, but never about guilt. How do you reconcile the warms thoughts of a tragic life with the dark you have to keep, too? I know, part of that is anger in the grief cycle, but this is somehow deeper.
Every year, I was betrayed. Summer Tucker became Tucker. Then Summer Tucker pulled the trigger. I was betrayed one last time.
I am not over this, obviously. I am always more aware of Tucker this time of year, having been when we lost him. The abrupt cliff that was Tucker’s life left me in turmoil. That is the way of it.
Perhaps, ten years on, I stop deifying Summer Tucker and see Tucker for who he was. The highs and lows of his life often bisected mine, but we were brothers, sometimes loving, others, well, you know.
Summer Tucker is a simplified version of a complex person. I have moved on from the violence, (which, for quite a while, we both laughed off as, well, “Jay you shouldn’t have said that,” as if my words deserved having the air kicked out of me) but I am still not sure I have moved on emotionally.
Summer Tucker and Tucker are the same person, and maybe it is for the best. I am trying to separate my complex feelings by avoiding the truth of it. I do a disservice to Tucker. I do a disservice to myself. Like all abusive relationships, it was impenetrable, even made more so by our brotherly bond.
We all have scars. Tucker wore his proudly. And he left some of those scars with me
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon
Shine on you crazy diamond
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light
Shine on you crazy diamond
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision
Rode on the steel breeze
Come on you raver, you seer of visions
Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shineShine On You Crazy Diamond Pts. 1-5 – David Gilmour/Roger Waters/Nick Wright