He told me it started so long ago, soon after my brother passed away. His body left for my mother to find, who would have guessed her fate would one day be mine. He loved his uncle so big and fun. He loved video games and my darling son. After all was over one possession was given to his loving Nephew, an alarm clock, when plugged in the time read 11:11. He was quite young maybe 8 or so and he felt he should have gotten more from his dear departed Uncle. As the years went by it became increasingly aware he saw 11:11 everywhere. He realized he probably got the greatest gift of all for 11:11 is one of the most sacred numbers of them all. Year after year he would mention it and so when he was an adult on his arm it would go. His number in ink for all to see. Branded 11:11 as proud as could be.
We must back track a bit to when he was just 3, he was inquisitive and bright with a look so seriously. I remember one occasion on the Merry Go Round his first ever. He looked all around with a pensive stare, a woman commented, “I guess he didn’t like his fare.” No she was wrong a dear friend pointed out, he is looking at all the mechanisms, how it moved about. We went around again and again and he took it all in….God only knows what a mind lie within. It was at the same age my father taught him to play chess. My father was a genius, Mensa can attest. (He went to one meeting and said it was pointless, everyone talking about how smart they are, I’d rather be home watching Scooby Doo or Tom and Jerry. That was my father he knew what mattered.) So here he was learning the challenging game of chess by the age of 5 my father gave it his best. He couldn’t beat my son not one more time, he didn’t want to play anymore with that brilliant son of mine. If you are English you know how funny that was, what is the point if you know you will loose no matter the cause.
He was a beautiful child with dimples for days, I called him cow eyes for they had the deepest gaze. Deep and dark and hard to deny, he was a beautiful soul and wished to fly. That is him my Carmel kid, what a beauty my God did give.
Time however decided to be quite cruel in ways one dares not even think of until it happens to you. A most perilous situation I found myself in, moving was our only course of action and that my greatest sin. Bullied and picked on in ways I never knew, for his cow eyes now were angry, nothing bright or new. He found some solace in music and martial arts at least I hope. Both came naturally….”Can’t everyone read music?” “No my son I assure you nadda nope.” His talents spilled over into art and intellect he doubted his gifts every step of the way, but 11:11 followed him every day. I was ill most of his childhood as my daughter knows well, she has been caring for me for as long as she can tell. All her life, but her story is for another day 11:11 is the minute in this time on this day.
As he grew into a young man he was so strong and silent. Hard to understand. With every gift of discernment God gave me I couldn’t read him but he could read me. If I so much as thought of a word I wanted to say it would fly out of his mouth, he was so much faster that way. I told him of his gifts, he just didn’t know, he was blessed too. The gift of knowing.
The unkind years they took it’s toll and he was angry and rightfully so. Yet still a decision had to be made, do we live in fear in hopes he can be saved. I gave it my all, I called everyone, pleaded with Doctors to look beyond, he wasn’t just another one. The Valley With a Heart or so they say. They failed to mention it was a cold heart made of poisonous clay. I thought if I could just keep trying and I failed I would find some comfort in the effort although to no avail. We had some moments I cherish that is true, there were some kind words tucked in between the two. 11:11 One minute in time filled with so much meaning and that clock you can’t unwind.
I would later find that number was his destiny for it’s meaning is so fine, half Angel half Human, a call to the divine. I remember the day he opened his mind to God, he found a sign in the library, funny he and my father spent much of their time there. It was a random book he pulled off the shelf and a bookmark fell out and on it read…”One moment can change a day, One day can change a life and One life can change the world.” It was the moment I had prayed for all of his life. Before that book mark he would hear nothing of the Lord, why would he, after all he endured. He even found a church around the corner where he stayed, he just walked in and joined with the others and began to pray. He knew not what religion nor did he or I care. He asked me to attend with him and one Sunday I was well enough and I swear….St. Mary’s was the church, the faith of generations before him. A Catholic Church with the name that bore him.
I watched my MMA trainer, my darling son deteriorate before my eyes, my cries heard by no one. Doctors looking at the tears in my eyes. He was just another number, like cattle at best. I asked everyone please pray, I am watching my son die a little each day. Then he showed up at my house as he would like clockwork, on my porch he stood. He wanted to show me his second tattoo…the 11:11 on his right arm fresh and new. He beamed with delight and pride. I admired it and cherished his smiling eyes. For 3 months we talked and we laughed it was so wonderful getting to know him again. Although he was incredibly sad he managed many a grin. No matter the day no matter what mood we were in, we always said I love you and I am proud to say those were the last words we uttered before he slipped away. Those were some of the best days I will never forget making Christmas cookies together and drinking tea. He was proud of his Very English name, that Crest graced his other arm. That is where I will spread his ashes, after one stop at the pub…all drinks on me, we will celebrate in style the English way, with a pint and a smile. Hip hip hurray!!
WE are all born with two sides with pertinacity to sin. It is clear when you look at him the battle he was in….
He begged me to forgive him if he didn’t make it at all, he felt he missed his awakening to God’s call. We talked over and over about this every day. I told him the fact that he found God meant he awakened that day. Then one morning I was going to the hospital, it was an often occurrence, this time destination Morristown and he asked to come along. As we awaited our ride he told me something I remember every day. “The goal when you die mom is to forgive those who hurt you.” “To not be the Grim Reaper and take vengeance afforded you.” I only listened most of the time he spoke as I got ready and grabbed my coat. We got to the ER and I was rushed inside, when your a heart patient that is the way of it, the front of the line you go into a private room. My son was pacing and very nervous more than most days. I saw why when I was to have a test done and wheeled away. Smack dab in front of my private room was a sign, my right hand to God …..it read…(they said they put it there above the shredder so employees would be more careful of the documents they shredded.)
I asked him if he saw it and yes of course he did, he noticed everything, including the room I was in..#1111, I still have a hard time with that one. I received no care that day, nothing new, the trip was solely for me to see what I already knew I was loosing my son.
Everyday he would call at exactly 8:36am, to ask to come over and just spend the day within his safe haven, not my house, not my home, but in my heart he was never alone. Until the day the phone didn’t ring, I told myself things like Oh he probably slept in. I called all day and finally the time came. With a screwdriver in hand I was going in. I had no key, I was going in, he left the key, he knew I would be going in. And there he was lying face down, I will never forget that moment or the lack of sound. After the police arrived I sort of floated out, I looked up and said…”I don’t blame you one bit baby, you fought a hell of a fight, your time to sit this one out.” The day was 12/20/13, just days before my Birthday, then Christmas and on 12/30 he would have been 22. For 11 days every year it is hell to get thru. Only 8 months later we lost our home all we had, my daughter and I all alone no deeper sadness I have ever had. The Valley With A Heart where no Catholic church would bless his ashes. I brought him back home to the church where he was baptized and the Priest did something no other funeral has ever had, he did the Christmas prayer for my son Korey Francis. “He was God’s gift that year, he wanted a dear friend to sit near, he chose Korey Francis, my son, for his grandest gift.”Father said. What that priest did was give me a way to process it somewhat emotionally, yes what a gift. MY SON was chosen above them all. My half man half angel now entertains God in heaven with deep conversation and I imagine he plays chess with my father with mutual admiration.
He left me a note but that is only for me. What I will say is weeks after his death I found out his friend Eric put that 11:11 tattoo on his arm. He asked me if I wanted the stencil because Korey drew it with his owe hand, he just inked it on.
Of all the possessions we lost somehow this tracing paper thin stencil survived and when I am ready I will have it put on my skin. My only tattoo in memory of my only son in remembrance of the battle he did win.
Korey Francis you were one of the great ones. It is not your fault no one saw that in you. The spiritual Warfare battle you fought only you truly knew. I hear you loud and clear and this post was most hard to do but the words just spilled onto the keyboard, no need to write. You did it for me perfectly worded, to save someone or perhaps many down here….For whoever needs to read your words you whispered in my ear.
Not a moment goes by I think and wonder what Korey would say as he flew on by…..always with me my precious son, my body guard stronger than anyone. I love you always my only son……Mom the Proudest one.
Sing Me to Sleep
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