Is how long it has been since my brother passed unexpectedly. I promised you all a long flowing post about it when I was ready. I never was until now.
I am the ‘baby’ of a strangely blended family. My dad (step dad in most peoples terms) had two daughters, my mom had 4 sons. They met when I was a baby and raised me together until my dad passed last month. I say I was a baby. I was more like an only child. The youngest of the blended siblings was 14 years older than me and lived with her mom. The youngest of my brothers was 21 when I was born. He was murdered that same year.
So, while on the outside it appears I had a large family the truth is it was me, my mom and my dad. The ‘baby’ of two parents in their early 40′s getting the chance to do things over again.
My brothers were more like uncles, my ‘sisters’ were not really a presence.
The third youngest of my brothers lived with us for about a year when I was in elementary school. That brother passed away 11 years ago.
But I never really had a sibling until Paul came to live with us on his 40th birthday. He was having a mid life crisis of sorts and decided to leave the East divorced and ready to start over. He stayed with my parents about a month or two and then found his own place near by. I was 15. He was a pain in the ass. Always around….sheesh! A bigger mommas boy I don’t think there ever was.
But as I grew up a strange thing happened. We actually became close. I started to understand his rough edge Jersey ways. I think he started to live with my stuck up princessyness.
As my parents aged Paul and I grew closer. Our need to take care of aging parents made us work together. We each had our roles and depended on the other to make sure everything was OK.
He adored my kids. He had ramps built in his home to accommodate my sons wheelchair (even though we rarely were in town). He became that quirky, lovable and gruff Uncle every kid should have.
And then one night he didn’t call my mom to say goodnight. Certainly odd for the mommas boy. He always called, no matter what sort of company he had over. He had a cold/flu though so we let it go. He didn’t call the next night and so first thing in the morning my mom went over. She found him in bed passed away.
I was watching SpongeBob with Carter when my mom called hysterical. I was home in Phoenix within a few hours. The following months were a blur.
I was not surprised to find that he had thought to protect both my mom and I in case something ever happened to him. He was that sort of son and brother. An ex Marine drill Sargent, tough as nails on the outside and soft as kitten inside.
A year later my world has been turned inside out. My brother and father both gone. A family home being sold. It has been too much growing up in one year for me. As much as I have struggled though I can’t imagine how my mom has buried two husbands and three sons. If I never attend a military service again it will be too soon.