10.21.2004 @ 2:09 pm
Back in 1998 I was a Youth Minister along with my friend Alissa for a local Catholic Youth Organization. She was the one that got paid by the church for it and I was one of the volunteers. Weekly, we would gather in the chapel of the church along with 20 or 30 high school kids and try to teach them the ways of the church, try to answer their questions, try to keep them on some sort of spiritual path. Strange, I know but that's what I did. It's what I was all about for all of high school and college and it carried over into my adult life despite the hierarchy of the Catholic church believing that all of us flaming homosexuals were gonna burn in hell, are child molesters, do nothing but sit around on the internet and download kiddy porn and are basically the biggest black spots on the soul of humanity as a collective since the Crusades. But hey, semantics right?
Anyway, there were these three brothers who couldn't be any more different if they tried. But the youngest one Bruce, was the standout. If there was authority around - he would question it. If authority said 'because I said so', that was never good enough. He questioned us, and everyone else on why we believe, how we came to believe and what keeps us believing. He never gave up. Some of us wondered if he was just rebelling against order and asking questions just for the attention. Others of us saw him as a barometer - the one kid out of all of them who was the firmest non-believer. We learned how to take his comments and his questions and instead of chalking up his nature to being a big trouble maker like most adults had done at that point, we looked deeper and realized he was really just a little boy lost and trying to make his own way. He stood out for reasons other than his mouth. He dressed all in black, with big stomping boots, marilyn manson t-shirts, spiked collars and chains. He wore mascara and eye liner and walked as big as he talked. He was quite the character. Even as little as a month ago when Alissa and I were talking about 'our kids', when Bruce's name was mentioned we laughed and nodded our heads and agreed that he was quite a character and the most memorable out of all the kids we spend time with weekly.
I say was because Bruce died on Sunday in a car accident in Kingswood Township. I don't know any details yet. Alissa and I are going to his wake today and we'll find out more but the truth remains - Bruce is gone.
We haven't seen him in several years. I have to admit, when the kids left to go home for the night and us adults sat around later to talk about the meeting - we almost always talked about Bruce. Why he did what he did, how well phrased some of his unanswerable questions were - what would happen to him in the grown up world. He was a joker and the type of kid who was always laughing and always causing some sort of a disturbance during the meetings. Years after CYO disbanded we found out that on the ski trip we took the kids on, he snuck pot with him for the weekend. He took apart his radio and hid it in there. That's just the kind of kid Bruce was. Always questioning, pushing, laughing, joking - seeing how far he could push us and testing us constantly.
So now we know what happened to Bruce. While I am shocked and surprised, I suppose it's fitting in a way even though he died by accident. We could never see him as an adult, wearing a suit, raising a family, paying bills and driving a minivan. Bruce was bigger than that - bigger than life in some ways and he taught us many lessons without even knowing it. He was one of our 'kids' - one of my 'kids' that was supposed to make it and take the little bit we tried to teach him and apply it to his adult life. He won't be doing that now. But in a way I don't know how sorry I am for that. In my opinion, Bruce was never meant to be a rat in the race and just another face in the crowd. He was meant to stand out and be noticed. He was full of life and laughter and pranks and questions and perhaps too big and too out there for this world to handle. Bruce will be 22 years old forever and now his ever questioning personality has been silenced, and we're the ones left with the unanswered questions. Life's funny that way I guess.
A Mass for Bruce A. Dyczok, 22, of Frenchtown will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday in St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Elizabeth, after the funeral from the Krowicki McCracken Funeral Home, 2124 East St. George Ave., Linden.
Mr. Dyczok died Sunday from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Route 29 in Kingswood Township.
He was a house painter for Jeffrey Peters in Frenchtown for five years.
Mr. Dyczok was a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 4 of St. Mary of the Assumption Church.
Born in San Dimas, Calif., he lived most of his life in Elizabeth before moving to Frenchtown.
Surviving are his mother, Donna Relyea; his stepfather, Gregory Relyea; brothers, Miles and Denim, and his grandmother, Bernice Landherr.
. . .where i've been // where i'm going. . .
08.02.2005 - Untitled
07.20.2005 - Obligitory link
07.03.2005 - till then
06.16.2005 - Multi-bulleted Update
06.16.2005 - Coldplay, 'Green Eyes'