so i received this letter from Carl Frazier's sister as a result of reaching out and asking her to submit something about her recently passed brother (and my friend) for the next SIN newsletter. i am posting the letter first and then the article.
sometimes less is more....
Sorry it took me all week to get this article written. It was much harder to do than I thought it would be; but it felt really good to be able to do it. Today's the two-month anniversary of Carl's murder and I was able to put the finishing touches on this article on his behalf instead of sitting here crying all day. So, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do this. Feel free to edit as you need to. I'm going to include a picture that I love of Carl and I. We both look kind of grungy; but it was such an awesome day that it really makes me smile when I look at this picture. My son took it of us when we were on the London Eye in July of 2002. I'm also including a picture from Carl's recent graduation from Univ of Phoenix in June of this year (three weeks to the day from his death) when he got his MBA. He was so proud of this day!
If you have any questions or need anything else from me, please let me know. I still seriously want to do something to stay connected to you guys...not only because I need to for Carl, but because I want to for me. I've found such love and comfort from all of you that it helps me get through the day. So, whatever I can do, please let me know.
(Could I get a copy of the newsletter on a regular basis? I really enjoy reading it.)
Clean laundry in the dryer ready to fold and put away. A damp towel hanging over the shower curtain. Leftovers in the refrigerator. Shirts fresh from the dry cleaners slung over the couch to be put away. Opened mail on the desk regarding his classes that started in September. By all accounts, Carl was planning on coming home to his life. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that when he left to meet friends for a Friday night out on July 11th that he’d never be returning again. And never in a million years did I ever think I’d get a phone call notifying me that my little brother had been found shot to death.
My brother would be the first one to tell you that I was a much better “preacher” than I was someone who practiced the advice I always feel the need to give. I wish I had a penny for every time I’ve reminded Carl and other friends that “everything happens for a reason” and “God never gives you more than you can handle.” I’d give anything to be able to believe this advice right now. Lately, I’ve found myself struggling to keep it together for my parents and trying to remind them that Carl would not want us to stop living but to celebrate his life and remember all of the good times we’ve shared throughout his 41 short years. It’s hard to do when there are no answers for why this terrible tragedy happened.
As time goes on and the investigation has still not been able to provide any answers but has actually led to more questions about how and why this murder happened, I have come to the realization that I need to try to find a way to accept Carl’s passing. I am reminded of a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” Carl exemplified this message! There was no obstacle to great for him to tackle. I’m so very proud of everything he’s done for every community where he lived. It wasn’t until his death that I realized how important it was for him to make sure all of his friends (old friends and those he still hadn’t met) felt like they had family and acceptance wherever they were. Carl was just my brother to me….I never thought of him as gay or a geek (ok…I may have called him a geek more than once; but I’m a geek, too, and proud of it!!). Growing up in a small town, it was hard from him to be who he really was. How awesome that he never passed up on an opportunity to move to a new city and meet new people. How awesome that he never let HIV stop him from living his life to its fullest or encouraging his friends to do the same. He always said life was too short not to have fun and explore the world.
I know in my heart that my little brother would not want his death to be for nothing – it’s up to me and all those people whose lives he’s touched to carry on his mission. Carl was all about friends and family…and Carl was all about fun. It’s up to us to make sure we never leave someone sitting home alone, afraid to talk to anyone or afraid to face one of life’s next challenges. I’ve learned so much about the strength and brotherhood within your community. Please be there for each other like Carl was. And please help keep Carl’s memory alive by inviting someone new to coffee or to the next social or by giving someone who looks like they’re hurting a hug. Carl valued family and friends more than anything in life. Let’s pay that forward for him.
-- Kathy Anderson (Carl Frazier’s sister)