Monday, August 30, 2010
Four years ago today my baby brother died from cancer. He was only 54 years old and was a healthy bachelor who played daily and was one of those guys who everyone loved. He had tons of friends from as far back as elementary school and still hung out with them and their families on a weekly basis. But his family was #1, and his nieces and nephews would brag about how c00l he was. He surfed and skateboarded and loved the outdoors. He had a wicked sense of humor and once we got started we’d laugh until we cried.
We grew up on the beach, towheaded and freckled, always barefoot with only a pair of shorts on for most of the year. Growing up in Southern California we worshipped the sun so we were brown as bears. He was one of those talented people who made a living doing photography but just enough to leave plenty of time for all the fun things in life while making sure we all participated. As our children became parents he once said to me. “I guess if I want to be a grandpa I’ll have to be a daddy first.” But he was too busy having fun and time passed and then he got sick.
It was from skin cancer of course even though he had begun wearing sunscreen as soon as it became available. Then it went into his bones and finally his brain. He fought it for years and years with our folks as his caregivers. Fortunately, we all live within minutes of each other so it became a family affair because my folks were approaching their 80s and they needed help too. We had years to say good-bye and in the process learned so much about living.
I’m no longer afraid to die. I learned that some peoples’ Hell is right here on earth and that God walks with us through it. I miss Tommy every day but I’m so grateful that he suffers no more and that gives me great comfort. I know we will all be together again and that fills me with hope. In the mean time I want to live the healthiest and happiest life I possibly can in honor of my brother, I promised him we all would. You taught me so much about living and dying Tommy, you are one of the biggest reasons I joined SparkPeople. So thank you little brother, I will always love you.