A Bereaved Mother's blog

Category Archives: Time I spent with Richard

Behind Enemy Lines

Today I thought of a fun day I had with Richard, and his younger brother Robert.  I miss Richard every day, today I was able to smile remembering this time we spent together.  He always made the time together fun, no matter what or where it was.

Last January 7th 2011, Robert was invited to the Texas A&M High School Indoor Track meet. This if for Texas High School students who are part of a private track team, its considered the “winter” season.  Robert is a pole vaulter, and he was making his debut as a sophomore at  Texas A&M.

Richard was home from UT for winter break, he was and is Robert’s #1 Fan.  He always called himself Robert’s agent, cheering him on in everthing from sports, art and school.

Richard drove from our home to College Station, TX in my car, while I sat in the back on my air card and worked on the way down.  We left mid morning and arrived in College Station before lunch.  None of us had ever been to Aggieland. As we drove onto campus Richard said his skin began to crawl, “I’m behind enemy lines, don’t tell anyone I’m from UT”.  He literally was shivering looking at the size of the campus, he felt he was behind the enemy lines.

We went to Subway for lunch, we passed a couple of guys who look like they just rolled out of bed or went to an all night party. Richard made some comment like,”Aggie’s don’t know how hang”.  He viewed everything there as second rate, second class and below anything from Austin.  In one semester he had been entrenched in the UT culture, which included a deep rivalry with Texas A&M.

We arrived at the Indoor Track arena, which is incredible.  I have never seen a facility so impressive in my life, of course Texas A&M has the NCAA #1 Men’s and Women’s track teams, so I can see why they would need this type of indoor facility.  It is a full indoor track arena!

We met Robert’s coach in the parking lot, and helped him  bring the poles into the warm-up arena.  The warm- up arena was a full indoor arena!

We left Robert and walked back to the front of the arena to get our tickets.  There were long lines for tickets – a VERY long line.  Keep in mind this is a Friday afternoon, during a school day, and its a High School meet.  So, we got in line, and we waited and waited and waited, for probably 45 minutes.

You need to know, in my professional life, I’m an organizational change manager.  I fix process, get involved in “improvement” projects all the time.  So whenever our family gets stuck in a long line, I’m always looking at the issues with the process and why the line is long.

Richard, knowing this long line is driving me crazy, starts with comments like ” Some process is wrong here Mom”, or “This is an Aggie line, get used to it”, ” These are Aggie parents selling tickets, they move slower than UT parents”.  All of these Aggie comments are under his breadth of course, because he is afraid to caught behind enemy lines.  When we got to the front of line there was a sweet older women who gave us a big spiel on everywhere we could sit, we could choose our seats (like going to a theater), and what was the best for the event we were watching.  It took so long because she was making sure everyone was happy with their seats!

Of course Richard made friends with the family behind us, who did not have a college student, yet, but by the time we bought tickets their son was going to UT.

We drove home three hours home that evening, I sat in the back again. I remember how dark it was and looking up at the stars, I never imagined I would now be looking up and wondering what Richard is doing right now.

We stopped  in West, Texas for dinner (Pizza).  It was a great day.

I loved that day, I miss you honey, more than you can imagine…..


My last conversation with Richard 8/26/11

Richard called me in Washington D.C. to talk about school and my upcoming visit on Labor Day weekend.  I was on my way to the airport in IAD, so I said I would call him later.  I talked to him about 10 PM on my drive home, it last the entire drive and until I was in the house.  He loved his classes.  His accounting teacher was the person who had $50M donated to UT to start the business school; Richard wanted to do well in his class so he could get a recommendation.  He said Chemistry would be hard, since he hadn’t had any since 10th grade. The class was large but he had lots of friends with him.  Communications would be easy; I had Samantha Subar tell me at the viewing she had seen Richard give an “elevator” speech on class Monday 8/29.  Why he was qualified or the CEO of EXXON.  He had dropped fencing, not because of the subject, but because he didn’t want to pay $300 for equipment and spend 3 hours a week for 1 credit.  I can’t remember what he said about mechanical engineering but I knew he thought his semester would be harder.  I don’t remember what he said about math either, but I think he was registered for linear algebra.  We talked about the things we would do together when I arrived on Sunday 9/4.  He was going to stay with me at the Hilton, we were going to buy a suit at Men’s Warehouse, go to a consignment store he heard about and to BBB to buy new sheets.  As well as go to dinner somewhere. I told him I wouldn’t drive down until after church because I knew he’d want to sleep in.  It was going to be a birthday celebration, since his 20th Birthday was 9/5/11.

This was a 30 minute conversation, I could hear in his voice that he was happy to talk to me, but I can’t remember exactly what we said for 30 minutes.

I know I said “I love you, and he always said “I love you too”. But I can’t remember at this minute what the sound of his voice saying this to me.

Its very important for me to write down as many things as I can remember about the last summer with him, because I know over time I’ll forget or my memory will change the specifics.  I will write them here in this blog, where they won’t get lost in a hand written journal or lost on a crashed hard drive.  Here on the internet words live forever.