Friday, November 6, 2009

A brief respite

I know that I promised you some pictures from Indiana and Kentucky, but I was unable to make the trip.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, I lost my younger brother Dennis. He was the victim (and he would hate that word) of a catastrophic systems failure. The doctors are unsure of the cause but suspect a major bacterial infection. It is possible we may never fully understand. It happened so quickly. We emailed each other on Thursday, he was admitted to the hospital on Friday evening, and gone by Saturday afternoon. My siblings and I were fortunate to be able to be with him as we all live in the same general area.

Life is full of strange happenings, twists, and turns. Dennis and I were polar opposites on, well, nearly everything. While we might have argued about anything, Denny was a man of remarkable integrity, something I believe is all too rare today. He knew what he believed and actually lived accordingly. He was not influenced by the current "conventional wisdom" or faddish trends. He was a good man and enriched the lives of many with his charity, knowledge and good humor. These are all traits that I find admirable and worthy of great respect and emulation. So, I always felt that we should have been closer and truly wished that we were.

There is a significant difference in our ages and I "get" all the sociological implications of "separate families" etc., but I still wished we were closer. I know we loved each other, but we tended to live separate lives except for holidays, family gatherings, and the like.

Well, (insert life twist here) as soon as I posted my first pictures and thoughts on this blog, he was one of the very first to respond. He sent me an email saying how much he loved it! He went on to say that our parents would be so proud. He told me he remembered what my parents went through while I was in 'Nam, and especially the anticipation on the day I came home. He went on to encourage me to complete the project, no matter what, "for mom and dad." I have learned since that he notified many of his friends, encouraging them to read this blog, telling them he was sure they would enjoy it as much as he did.

I was shocked at the depth of my reaction to his messages, I actually wept. I was in Montana at the time and said to my friend with whom I was staying, "If nothing else ever comes of this blog, I have gotten more than I ever dreamed of". So, for the next couple of weeks, I felt as if we had really bridged a gap, that we had finally found a means to heal, ourselves. I can not think of another thing that means as much to me, now.

I am further encouraged to continue the journey, to complete this project. Not only for mom and dad, but for him. So, please grant me a few days to be with my family and to celebrate my brother's life. I will be back, I have lots more to say on the memorials and want to share it with all of you.

Denny, I miss you and love you forever.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Uncle Mike,

    I have found this blog to be both interesting and inspiring. Thank you for conintually posting your journey.

    That being said, none of the entries has touched me as much as this tribute to uncle Dennis. I got choked up while reading it.

    Uncle Dennis was truly a special soul, and I'm glad that this project brought the two of you closer in his final weeks.

    I look forward to your future posts.