I stopped posting and doing much of anything on Facebook about a year ago. Facebook had become too much to deal with. Before I left I had posted several profiles that I called my "Good Person" posts. They were short essays on people who I admired and who had positive influences on my life. Today I return, temporarily, to write about someone I have long admired, and in whom I have always been proud. I hope I can do justice to him and his memory.
My brother, Ed, was a man to admire. Although, while we were growing up I often wondered if he would mature enough to be a man. I should have never worried. We spent our childhood in Adrian, Michigan. Living in a place where, on a summer day, you could leave the house in the morning, stop by for lunch at noon and not be seen again until dinnertime. No worries about evil doers or calamities. A setting only missing band concerts in a park and cold lemonade from a wooden stand manned by 9 year olds. And sometimes we had that too. Ed was my "kid" brother. As we grew to adulthood we shared an apartment, laughed and fought, and rested in the constant knowledge that we would always be there for each other.
Ed left Michigan after high school and never looked back. He attended college in New York and soon after convinced the love of his life, his precious Jill, to marry him. We ended up living over a thousand miles from our home town, but only a little less than 200 miles apart. Ed drifted for a short while for a job/career, but soon, with help from Jill, realized he needed to be the man he was destined to be. He took a job as an electrician's apprentice and eventually earned first his journeymen's certificate and then his Master electrician license. He headed Construction crews building everything from water plants to restaurants. He was very good at what he did and eventually became a county electrical inspector and plans reviewer. He was widely known for his amazing knowledge of electrical codes and construction.
Meanwhile Jill and daughter Alicia had the love and care of a husband and father who took great pride in his family. Houses were bought and sold. Churches were joined and served. Friends were made and cherished. Ed was a friend to so many and a help to all who asked.
In December of 2017 Ed and Jill hosted a re-dedication of their love. Friends and family gathered from all over the country to be witness to the continuing love. A beautiful ceremony was followed by a feast fit for a king and then a dance that Ed shared with his bride every night.
Ed took me aside that day and told me the secret he had learned. The trouble swallowing and the pain that he was experiencing....was esophageal cancer. My "kid" brother was strong and was a fighter, and he intended to win this fight. When I saw him next he had lost a terrible amount of weight and was weakened by the disease. His voice was a whisper and he tired easily. I was scared, but he was calm. He was fighting. The cancer had metastasized to many parts of his body. But Ed was fighting. On last Tuesday Ed was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and embolisms in his lungs. He was too weak to stand and although he was sharp, and fighting, I was so very, very afraid. I promised to return on Saturday with my family. We came, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. Ed was too weak to speak but a precious few words at a time. I was afraid, but Ed was calm. Ed left us on Monday morning. He fought the good fight and earned his eternal rest.
I miss my brother so dearly. I think now of the wasted opportunities to see him. Opportunities I no longer can use. As I stood at his bedside I told my brother words that I hoped were comfort to him. I let Ed know that I was proud of him and that he had shown me the way to be a man. I told him that he was loved far more than he could imagine. And then I saw my brother for the final time. The day he died the world lost some light. It's a darker and colder place. A better place because he was here. A sadder place because he no longer is. You, my brother, were such a good person.
To my friends and family, love each other, find peace in your hearts, and never miss the chance to tell those who are important to you that you love them.
Celebrating Nico's birthday at the ice skating rink. February 24, 2018. Doing what Randy wants. Celebrating life, even in death. Thanks again, Randy.