From David Sommers Concerning His Brother, His Brother”s Life And DeathRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Sep 13 2018 12:43 AM
From a young age, my brother was kind of notorious in this area. He knew a lot of people and a lot of people knew him. Our relationship was far from perfect. I knew him longer than any person in existence. He chose the way he wanted to live and no one or nothing would stop him. If it could be smoked, he smoked it. If it could be snorted, it went up his nose. If it was a pill, he swallowed it. No matter the size, color or effect. From age 14, he was getting high and his search for that high never went away. It cost him everything. His family, his home and eventually his life. He was 59 years of age but looked 69. His search for that buzz was every morning, everyday, every night. It went on for years, decades. What was it about that buzz that became better than life? I'll never know. It gnawed away at him. He spent time behind bars, locally and on a state level. He was never a violent offender, but he was a habitual offender. I'm not aware that he ever physically harmed anyone. He would steal for the buzz. He would lie for the buzz. He would lose his job or his car for the buzz. He loved his mom and dad, but took advantage of their home and property. He would pawn family property, a friend in the business would call me and I would buy it back. Always on the hunt. A tortured soul. He was raised by the finest Christian woman ever. She prayed the most heartfelt prayers every day. She prayed for him. She prayed everyday. She prayed until her mind could no longer comprehend what was happening around her. She hoped with everything in her that her walk with God would translate to him. She left this earth in 2012 and it eventually brought an awakening. At least for a while. Then the hunt for the high continued. When she left I had to do a lot of forgiving and forgetting. Still, I couldn't forget everything. Never let your guard down. Never. I had to do what I thought she would want me to do. I took his calls. I answered his text. I never denied his calls. I let him talk. He told me he loved me. I did deny him money. I did buy his tobacco and rolling papers. When he asked, I would take him to the grocery store, let him shop and meet him at the register. We were finally at peace with each other. I stopped judging him long ago. It did him or me no good. For years I've expected the call. That call came Monday at lunch. Monday was the day. He was killed Monday. Murdered. We've all done some shitty things in our lives. BUT NO ONE DESERVES TO DIE THAT WAY. Two have been arrested. I pray for them. I pray for their souls. I forgive them. I don't understand why it happened and likely never will. Neal Craft Barber is my brother. I'm at peace with Neal's passing, but I may never be at peace with how it happened. Thank you for the calls, texts, messages, prayers and thoughts. Life goes on.