I haven’t written for a while. Time has been taken up fostering my career coaching business, which is doing well. However, events are taking place that bring me back to the pen, as it were. In times of extreme joy and sadness, I feel drawn to two things: the water and writing. Unfortunately, this time it’s brought on by immeasurable sadness. My oldest brother is gravely ill and we’re losing him. It’s surreal and horrible; like a nightmare that will not end. There is no comfort in it. He’s my big brother and we’ve grown closer and closer over the years.
As I look back on my life, he has played a role in so many of the pivotal moments. He introduced me to the Beatles in our garage. His friend Emy Seganga, a high school exchange student from Kenya, inspired my love of Kenya and deep desire to spend time there. His girlfriend, Pat, was a fabulous quilter. She made a beautiful quilt by hand of the peach orchard they lived at in West Virginia. That quilt took hold of me and inspired me to be the quilter I am today. His first child first made me an aunt. His first grandchild, a great-aunt for the first time. One of the best days I ever had was going down the Snake River in Jackson, Wyoming in his boat as he told stories of the Hole in the Wall Gang while spotting the animals that he so loved as a naturalist.
Yes, our lives are woven together, as all siblings’ lives. He is the oldest, I the youngest. We weren’t close as children, but as we grew and time went on, we developed a closeness that I have always held precious. Now, on the precipice of losing him, I am going through the stages of grief. I’m still teetering between denial and anger. I just can’t fathom the reality, the cruelty, the unfairness of it all. He’s a young man by today’s standards, at just 64. A kind man, a smart man, a great dad, a loving brother and just starting to enjoy being a grand dad to lovely 8 month old Nora Jayne.
As luck would have it, the family was together for Christmas this year. What a blessing to have spent a week together, completely unaware of this turn of events. I will hold this Christmas special above all others. But, I hear his deep voice, I remember the stories he loved to tell, and I will always feel his heart deep within me.
I love you big brother, always.