Keith Stephen Newberg... That's my older brother, my best friend, my protector, my guiding hand... that's only a few things that he was to me, not to mention how he touched the lives of everyone else that he met along the way. As far back as I can remember, and that's a long, long time, Keith was always joking and laughing, bringing a smile to anyone's face that he came in contact with. He was always there when I needed him, no matter what he was doing, no matter who he was with. If I needed him, all I had to do was call and he came running. He was 6 years older than me and my mother used to tell me that when I was born he used to tell everyone when they went out anywhere, "This is my baby sister" and "Be careful, don't hurt her." He was only 6 and already the overprotective big brother that he always was! I remember being 4 years old, watching him get ready to go to school, watching him get on the school bus in front of our house, and him being so excited about going. He loved learning new things. He was always so smart. We kind of grew apart as he hit his teen years, but he was still very protective of me, I can remember him asking me one day "you're not doing drugs or anything are you?" and I didn't lie to him. Oh no, he always knew when I was lying. No matter the situation. So I told him the truth, yea, I was smoking pot and drinking every once in a while, that was when I was 14, he was 20. He told me that it was fine as long as I wasn't doing anything harder. I remember he specifically said, "I swear if I find out you're doing acid or X I'll kick your ass, and I'm not playing." Even though he had done every drug under the sun, he didn't want me going down the same road. One of our friends, Speedy, told my brother one day that we smoked a blunt together and Keith snapped! That same year, he had a daughter, my niece, Chloe Illana Newberg. She was so beautiful. She passed away the day after she was born. She was premature and her lungs were underdeveloped. This killed a part of all of us, but no where near as much as it hurt Keith's heart. Throughout the whole pregnancy, he always wanted to know so much about babies and couldn't wait for her to be here, he wanted to play with her and to teach her how to do everything. He was heartbroken. You see, I had only seen my brother cry 4 times, ever. The first time was when my kitten had gotten hit by a car and died when I was about 7, he cried because I was hurt. This was the second and the hardest he had ever cried. The 3rd and 4th are later in this story. By the time I was 17 and he was 23, I had already done my fair share of screwing up, I was on probation for felony offenses and had dropped out of school, but got my G.E.D. and was working full time Wal-Mart. We hadn't seen much of each other or talked much in about a year. He called me one day when I was working and told me he needed me to pick him up, that it was important. His girlfriend and him had gotten in a huge fight. I left work and when I called the phone back, his girlfriend answered the phone. She told me that he was crazy and that they had been up all night doing coke and drinking and said if he didn't leave she was going to hit him... AGAIN! Oh and I snapped! When I got there he came outside and his lip was bleeding, he had a 1/2 empty bottle of Seagram's in his hand and got in my car. He wouldn't let me get out to fight her, though I really, really wanted to. See, my brother was never the type to hit a woman, no matter if she had beat the hell out of him or whatever the situation might be. Well, we left there, and pulled into a church parking lot to talk and try to figure out where to go. We both knew that we couldn't go back to mom and dads with him looking like this. So we sat in the car and talked. I can remember, there was snow on the ground, it was the middle of winter. He started crying and said he was sorry for not being there for me lately, and I started crying with him. He hugged me and cried some more. We talked for at least a couple of hours, mostly just catching up on things. We drove around and he passed out in the car. I didn't want to wake him because I knew he needed the sleep, but finally I gave in and went home. I practically carried him up the stairs to the front door, took him in my room, undressed him down to his boxers, and covered him so he could get some real sleep. I found some xanax and cocaine in his sock and I flushed it. I knew he wouldn't be mad because I was doing the right thing. And no matter how it affected him, he always respected someone doing the right thing or at least trying to do the right thing. The next morning he woke me up, I slept on the couch so he wouldn't have to get up. We went into my bedroom and had a long, long talk. He told me that he had been doing cocaine and selling it for about 3 years. He told me that he wanted to stop, but needed help. He told me that no matter how bad he begged for a ride to go get dope, not to take him. Not to go back on this one no matter how hard it was for me. Not to give him any money or to give him his phone back until he was better. Not to even let him leave the house. I didn't. He stayed in the house for basically 3 weeks. Never touched the first thing. When he was better and had gained some of his weight back and was healthier, he wanted to go out. So out he went. Within a week he was back on cocaine. He came to me a couple of other times, asking me for help, I helped him each and every time but it never seemed to be enough. About a week before he passed away, he came to me and told me that him and Jeannie, his girlfriend, had not done any cocaine in 2 weeks, though they had been around it and other friends who were still using. I was so proud of him. See, he never was, no matter what, the type to lie. Not to anyone, not about anything. He was one of the realest people you would ever meet. That was why everyone loved him so. He had quit selling drugs, and doing drugs. He was still drinking every once in a while and smoking weed here and there, but he was off the coke! He was getting ready to start a new job, had just gotten a car, and a new apartment for him and Jeannie. They had planned on getting married and he was going to adopt her son, Kaleb. He was starting over. It was so great! He was turning is life around. There was a guy, James Adam C., who still owed Keith money for a half-gram of cocaine. $35. Adam called Keith around midnight and said that he had his money, to come and get it. He called Keith 3 times. Keith finally got tired of him calling and had his friend Charlie drive him over (his car was low on gas) to Adam's apartment to get the money. Charlie and Jeannie were waiting inside the car for Keith to come back. After 20-30 minutes they were wondering where Keith was. Adam came outside and stood in the shadows, he called Charlie over and told Charlie that Keith said to come back and get him in an hour. He had Keith's phone in his hand. Charlie went back to the car and told Jeannie and she knew something wasn't right. She said "I can't even go outside with his phone, I know he wouldn't let someone else." She says she got the feeling in her stomach, you know, the butterflies. She went up and down the hallway of the apartment building, yelling out Keith's name. They didn't know which apartment it was. No answer. She goes up to the next floor, Adam is dead bolting his door and has a pitcher of kool-aid in his hand. He has blood all over him and he starts running. Jeannie chases him outside and through the parking lot, on the phone with 911 the whole time. She turns around to try to get in the apartment. The police show up and break the door in. Keith is laying, unconscious in the hallway of Adam's apartment, wrapped up in a moving blanket. His shirt was off his glasses broken, in the floor next to him. Adam had put a blanket over the window so no one could see in, and had tried to clean some of the blood up. He had taken Keith's phone and locked the door so no one could get in. I'll never forget that morning. I couldn't sleep, I kept tossing and turning. The phone rang at 4:45am and I jumped up, wondering who was calling so late. I remember the phone call. "Hello this is a nurse at UK Medical Center, may I speak with a family member of Keith Newberg? "What's going on? What happened?! "I need to speak to a family member... "This is his sister! What the hell is going on?! "We have Keith down here in the emergency room and we need his family down here as soon as possible." I jumped up, got dressed, woke our parents up and told them to meet me at the hospital, and was at the hospital (normally a 20 minute drive) within 5 minutes. I ran every light, did about 30 over the speed limit, and dared any cop to pull me over. Keith had 5 deep gashes on the back of his head. His skull was fractured and his brain stem nearly severed. He was on life support for a couple of days, I can't remember how many, it seemed like a year. I didn't sleep at all. I tried to leave the hospital a couple of times so that I could change clothes or get cigs, but had to turn around each time because my parents would call saying that his stats were dropping. When I would get back by his side, they would stabilize. This was the last time I saw him cry. They say that he wasn't conscious and he couldn't hear me, but I know that he could. I told him I loved him and that I wasn't mad at him and one tear rolled out of the corner of his eye, down his cheek. They also say that a person will wait until the people closest to them are not there to "go." I believe it, I finally left to go get some cigarettes, with Jeannie, and when we got back, we saw the coroner's van in the parking lot. I knew then, in the pit of my stomach, that it was over. When we got back to ICU, they told us that he failed the breathing test and wasn't responding to any of the nerve tests. He was gone. My heart sank to my stomach and I felt like I couldn't breath. Like there was an 18-wheeler sitting on my chest. I hit my knees and prayed that it wasn't true. There had to be over 400 people at the wake and funeral. At least 100 cars in the precession. He had so many friends, it was unreal. I still have people that I don't know, or even recognize come up to me to this day, telling me how much they miss Keith and telling me memories they have of him. It's been a little over 3 years and I still miss him every single day. Everything reminds me of him, songs that come on the radio (He could flow like no one else!), movies that I see. Whenever anything good happens, I miss him that much more because I wish that I could share it with him. On the back of his headstone, we had engraved a poem that I wrote for him: "If tears could build a stairway, memories pave a lane, I would climb right up to heaven, and bring you home again" The only way that I have gotten through has been to remember that he left to take care of his little one, and that he doesn't have to deal with stress or sadness anymore. I know that Keith is and always will be watching over our family every day.
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