My cousin, Bradley Charles Pearson, arrived in the mail yesterday. His ashes, that is. We were expecting him. His sister had called a few weeks ago to tell us he was in the hospital… not doing well. We talked about the inevitable ‘next steps’ and agreed that he would want to be buried in Oysterville. His father, my first cousin Wallace, is buried here. As is his grandmother Suzita who was my mother’s sister.
Bradley was just a year younger than my son. I’m not sure if he was born during the years his family lived in Oysterville or maybe afterwards when they lived in Los Angeles. I do know that he visited Oysterville just after my folks had retired here. He was still high school age, already on the rodeo circuit. Already drinking.
He came twice more to Oysterville – the most recent time back in 2001 or 2002 with his young son Jacob. He was clean and sober then except for the meds he was taking for his brain damage. He was a sweet man. We’ll put him in his final resting place next summer when the family can gather and remember…
This morning I looked online to see if I could find an obituary for Bradley. Instead, much to my amazement, I found something he, himself, had written back in 2000 and posted on a site called The TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Chatroom and Homepage:
One evening in the summer of ’83 I went to a bar in Tucson, Az.. Being a Rodeo Cowboy, 25 years of age I thought that is where I was supposed to be if I wasn’t in an arena riding bulls. This guy I was talking with was a nice guy and I had been drinking a pretty long time. He seemed concerned and offered to call me a Taxi instead of driving myself home. The Taxi pulled up across the street from the bar and it was pretty late at night. I ran across the street to get in the Taxi and didn’t quite make it. He was cited for bad brakes and bad lights and he got me good. I don’t remember but they say I was thrown over the car about 30′. Ambulance transported me to University Hospital. When I woke up from the coma some 17 days later they began surgery. Then came physical therapy. After 5-6 months in the Hospital I was transferred to St. Mary’s Rehab Unit for 60 days of speech therapy. I stayed with my Dad for a month in the boarding house where he lived. My sister paid for that month. I then wound up on the street. Alcohol and drugs became a need and that was all I lived for. That in combination with my brain trauma left me with no bodily coordination. My balance was so bad I could hardly walk. I knew something was wrong. On September 11, 1986 I decided I couldn’t use drugs & alcohol any more. Between the DT’s and the seizures I needed help. I went to the “lark” program at Gateway. It was basically a “drunk tank”. After they dried me up they sent me to Crossroads Ranch in Nogales for a month. I really got dried out there and they sent me on to a halfway house in Wilcox. I stayed there for a half a year. It’s a program that teaches you how to live sober. In the meantime I got on disability. An attorney I met at AA helped me with the process when he discovered that I was a survivor of a traumatic brain injury. Things were becoming normal and I saved a little bit of money to get back to Tucson and rented a small apartment. I went to daily AA meetings I started attending a Bridges Program helping me with my cognitive, speech, and physical problems. It had been a long trip but I faithfully went daily from 9-3 for counseling, rehab, and just plain encouragement. I have been sober ever since and paying my own way. I got married in November of ’95 to my High School sweetheart and we have a 4 yr old son. I was a wild bull-ridin fool.
Sadly, Bradley had a number of set-backs after this was written. And now he is back in Oysterville. I only wish his long journey home could have been easier.