He was my brother.
He was 52.
And he went to heaven on March 19th of this year.
Way too young.
This is more than difficult.
Here are my words to him:
I know my tribute has been a bit long in coming. But I have been trying to wake up from this bad dream that started over two weeks ago with you becoming seriously sick.
I guess today is the day to pounce on it since I wrote your obit as well. UGH. LOL. Never a job I wanted to have but happy to help your family survive this. And not only that-but to eventually thrive. Because they will.
Do you remember this framed picture that you bought me several years ago? I was a single mom at the time. And although I looked at her and later told you, “she’s old looking” (LOL to that now that I DO have wrinkles and grey hair), you laughed. “That doesn’t say ‘old’ to me.” You said, “That is a woman of tremendous courage and strength. And she reminds me of you.” I quickly shut up. Because a compliment from my brother was…WOW!
Ever since that time, she has sat on my bedroom dresser in each one of our homes. She is my reminder that you thought of me as strong and courageous, and it is a nudge to continue to work on living up to that. I will do this, brother. I will do this for you, and the sake of my family and also for the sake of your family still here with us.
I think I told you this admission or mentioned it, but in case I forgot, I’m confessing it now. There was a time in jr high when I truly was tired of hearing all about you. For many years, I attempted to live up to what you accomplished and fell drastically short. Great grades came easy for you, while I struggled for every “A” or “B”. Athleticism, popularity and friends were also a big part of your life. Yes, there was quite a bit of time that when I heard “are you related to Rick?” (because I heard it a lot), and I denied it completely. Other students probably laughed at me. You were not only stellar at the debate team, you excelled in arguments with me and that was the worst of all. But I will never forget your encouragement when I tried out for Jazz Choir/Highlighters, (South Kitsap High School Highlighters Alumni). I wasn’t even going to look at the posted acceptance list. But you and our friend Christian Weber basically dragged me down the hallway and read the list as I hid my face. In a short time, you were both whooping and hollering and I was red-faced but pleased as could be. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for knowing that I could do it.
Thank you, for being my example of how to love Christ, and to make Him first in my life. You seldom stepped off the path that I loved to wander from and I suspect you are now being rewarded for that. Well done, my brother. I will read “Blue Like Jazz” again, in memory of you.
I can only imagine that at times I was a pain-in-the-butt sister. Check that-I KNOW I was. I know this because you also had your share of being a pain. But I am grateful that God chose me to be in your family and I’m grateful for the parts of you that have been left behind in your children. I will hold them close and treasure them. I will remind them of memories and tell them stories. I will not let your legacy die. People all over the world are telling us how you greatly impacted their lives. I know you didn’t realize this so I pray that God has shown that to you now. You made a forever impact and were loved by us all.
I am proud to be your one and only sister. And in truth, I always have been.
I miss you and love you.