Yesterday was my big brother’s birthday. Or, at least it would have been had he still been with us. He passed away, suddenly, on December 13, 2007 at the age of 57. That was a very rough time for us as the family experienced two deaths within 24 hours that week.
I wasn’t going to write about the occasion at all, but I felt like I needed to mention it, if only to soothe my own mind. There are still times when I hear news of an old friend or a family event that I think I’ll have to call and tell him about it - and then, I remember I can‘t do that.
When he came to mind throughout the day yesterday, I tried to think of all the good things he got to experience and how much he managed to enjoy his time here with us. He was married to the love of his life for 35 years and together they had two wonderful children. He was able to be there for both his son’s and daughter’s college graduations and weddings and welcomed his first grandchild in August, 2007.
A Harley man, he loved to mount his bike and head off down the highway with his riding buddies. His wife took a long time to come around to the joys of riding and had only begun riding with him in the last few years and had even (finally) gotten her own motorcycle operator’s license. (She drove along behind him in her car for many of his adventures!) He rarely missed a Bike Week in Daytona and had finally made the long ride from the East Coast to Sturgis in 2006. (My S-I-L flew out there!)
In the last decade or so, they had purchased a condo at the beach and had enjoyed many a weekend walking the boardwalk and stretching out in the sun on the sand. He was a laid back kind of guy, much more comfortable in a pair of bib overalls than in a suit. (I’m not even sure he owned the latter!)
As kids, we were close. He was my protector and my co-conspirator when we ganged up on our older sister. While I was single, he helped keep my vehicles running and provided other “male” support when necessary. Like most of our family, he was a bit of a night owl. The best, most involved phone conversations happened after 10 at night - the later, the longer the call. For the last 12 to 15 years, he’d worked the night shift and enjoyed it!
After my mom had become disabled by several strokes and was unable to live on her own, he and his family completely rearranged their lives and home to accommodate her and he made the best nursemaid and companion for her one can imagine. No amount of money could have bought better care for her in those last few years.
As always, we regret the things we never said. I hope he knew how grateful I was to him for all he’d done for me over the years. I’m sure I didn’t thank him enough. I know we didn’t talk as frequently as we should have in those last few years as we each pursued life with our individual families.
I’m not quite sure how to end this statement, except to say, I miss him. We all do.