25 February 2014

Rest in Peace, Brother



My younger brother (I have two) was killed in an auto accident over the weekend. I had to call my father (97 yrs.) to tell him his youngest child died. He cried. Seems so wrong to have it be this way. It feels strange. Sad.

From young, I was his protector, his big sister. His ears stuck out when he was little and kids called him Dumbo. Made me mad, so I stepped in and beat them up. Of course. No bullying my brother on my watch. Things got more complex later in life and I could no longer protect him from his destructive life choices. But in an act of grace, he finally took care of himself, got into recovery and worked hard to turn his life around and give back in an effort to re-balance things again.

I cheered him on, admired his constant vigilance and his willingness to live each day as best as he could. None of us know the struggles another faces even if he's a brother. That alone calls us to kindness and compassion. Last time I talked to him he said his life was good and he felt grateful. What I'm grateful for is that he died in recovery and not in the ugly tangle of addiction and the devastation that follows in its wake. There was hurt enough and I believe his regret for that.

Through it all I held the memory of him as a small boy- beautiful, sweet, pure and so much fun. His essence. It got lost for a while. In the process he lost most of what deeply mattered to him. He leaves three amazing daughters, a granddaughter and an ex-wife who is my dear friend. He fought the demons only he saw and re-built his life in an attempt to be of service to those in need. Bless him. I'll miss him. I celebrate him. I hope he is finally at peace.


37 comments:

  1. Loving tribute to your brother, who in many ways became my brother as well.

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    1. I love that the two of you were friends, brothers. And that his wife became my sister.

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss, Mary. I'm sorry, too, for all of your family in their time of grief. There's a world of love in your words - I hope he does, in fact, rest in peace.

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  3. Oh Mary, I am so sorry for this sad news. I love you. XX

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    1. It was hardest to tell Papa. He said his heart was breaking...

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  5. Dear Mary .... I celebrate him .. His life .. With you.

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  6. Mary, I am so sorry for your loss of your brother. You are right. It just shouldn't be this way. My sympathies to your family, especially your father. He's suffering something no parent should ever have to. May your brother rest in peace.

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    1. Thanks, Patti, It was difficult, my Dad sounded so sad. I remember something he said years ago about the hardest thing about aging was losing so many friends and family. But this is his first child.

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  7. I want you to know that he not only helped himself but i am one of many that don touched. He and god are the reason that i am sober today. He taught me so much about life, compassion, being greatful, and staying humble. He was always there when i needed him day or night. I love that man more than i ever thought i could love another human being. God brought him into my life exactly when i needed him and in my eyes took him out of it way before i learned all that he had to offer. There is a hole in my heart now that no one will be able to fill. My prayers are with you and your family. I dont understand why god took him,however i do know that god has in his company now the greatest man ive ever been lucky enough to know.

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    1. Brandon you make my heart sing. Thanks. Paul

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    2. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience with me. It means the world to me (and I know to Don) that he touched your life in a positive way.

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  8. Mary, In your insightful way, you've turned this into a tribute to the human spirit. I hope your brother's memory, especially his struggle to recover, brings you peace in retrospect.
    Steve K.

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    1. It does, I'm glad for him as well. It's a better way to die.

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  9. I'm so sorry for your devastating loss, Mary, and for the pain you felt in having to tell your father that his youngest was dead. Thank goodness he died at a time of life when he had successfully fought his demons and was helping others, at a time when he was coming full circle back to that sweet soul you remember so well. But the loss is still so very painful. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. It's just so sudden and unexpected. I'm proud of all he struggled with and shared with others struggling. I'll miss him.

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  10. As another sober person, I salute your brother. And my sympathies to you and your family.

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss, Mary. I know how much it hurts and will continue to do so for a long time. I'm glad he found peace in his life.

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    1. Me too, it's a precious gift. Thanks, Djan.

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  12. My sympathies, Mary. Communicating the loss to your father must have been the hardest thing to do.

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    1. It was. He has all his faculties still and was so sad and grief stricken. Such a loss...

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  13. Dear Mary,
    Roby and I are sad for your loss and give you a big hug. Life is tough: just when you were going to have days of joy reuniting with John and all of us friends here in Italy... this tragedy comes all of a sudden. Stay strong, as you always are.
    March and Roby

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    1. Your words touch my heart and I'm grateful. Yes, life changed so quickly. Forever. Hope to see you soon, Love, Mary

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  14. Mary, we are so sad for you all. I guess we just have to get used to loosing the people we love the most. But it is hard. We are thinking of you and sending lots of love. Thank you for your beautiful words. Bunty & Rory

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and your love. It means even more to me now. It's what remains to sustain us after the losses. I'm glad we had time together before I left Trinidad. I appreciate your friendship.

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  15. Mary I am so sorry, especially the way he left in such surprise. I know it must be a part of you that departed too. The best memories of ones life are the ones as child. I just hope you can see him again, which I believe is the case in such good people. Receive a big hug from us. Best Carolina

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    1. We're united in this sad loss of a loved one, you your Mom and me my brother. Thank you for your hug and one back to you.

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  16. Mary, I am so sorry to hear of the sudden death in such a tragic way of your brother. I grieve for you father, and can't imagine the pain it must have brought to tell your father of his son's death. I am grateful your brother had fought his demons and come out the other side in such a way as to bring healing to others.

    You have been through a lot of loss lately. I will hold you in my heart and say a prayer. I do hope your brother is at peace.

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    1. Thank you, Sally. Good thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

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  17. Mary, this is so sad, and moving. None of us knows the struggle another faces. This is, to me, the most important thing to know in relationships. I have been dealing with a brother with similar issues these last weeks (all my spare moments on it since little Henry was born), and I finally had to let it go. I cannot make him see. I just have to make my own choices. Thank you for living your life as you do. It matters, a lot.

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    1. There were a number of years when I, too, had to let go, let my brother know I loved him and awaited his return. My form of prayer for him was to hold the image of him in his younger, pre-addiction days in my mind and heart and believe in his ability to find his way back. He reached out to the recovery community eventually and that saved his life. Meanwhile I focused on me getting healthy. That saved my life. I stand with you in this, Ruth.

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  18. Sorry to have found your blog on such a sad occasion. But you are right. It shouldn't be that way... having to tell your father of your brother's passing. My mom lost both my sister and my brother while she was still alive... and she always said that..."it wasn't supposed to be this way". So sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you, Rian, and thanks for stopping by.

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