2 years ago today, one of my brothers and one of my best friends succombed to cancer. Skin Cancer, aka Melanoma, the black ribbon one. Although he fought it bravely he eventually lost his battle. And my heart broke.
He was 38.
He left behind his other half and their critters. He was an architect in San Diego, and the life of every party. A Jimmy Buffett fan til the end.
If you've never been able to claim that any or all of your siblings have been among your best friends, I truly feel bad for you.
I was almost 10 when he was born, we didn't grow up together, but after college, I got the priviledge of getting to know the real Jim.
We still sing: "Come Monday, It'll Be Alright" because it was on Monday, May 15th, 2006 that if was finally alright and he was freed of the pain and disease that he fought with for the last year of his life.
It still hurts, but time really does fade the feelings. It will always hurt, but I see him all the time now, rather than just once or twice a year at family gatherings.
I see him in the snow and pines in the winter up here snowboarding down a mountain, in the lilac blossoms in the spring, grilling a steak or splashing in the big lakes in the summer, and in the scarlets, reds, oranges, yellows, burgandies.. and all of the other colors we are so blessed to experience here in N. Mich in fall.
I see him in my dreams, and I can conjure him up almost on demand.
I see him in my garden (telling me my rows aren't straight - he was such a architect!) and up in my hayloft and feeding my animals. I see him in the walls in my cabin, that he designed for me. Of course I see him in the many pictures around that commemorate his awesome 38 yr existence on this planet.
He's with us when we have our reunions, right in the middle of all the nonsense.
What will I do today to honor him? I will remind everyone I know to get their checkups, I'll make a donation to the skin cancer foundation (the name escapes me at this moment), and I'll take my Dad over to the big lake to the East, have a nice lunch and maybe walk on the beach a bit if it's nice, while we reminisce.
I will celebrate the lives of my kids, husband and other family members and friends and take comfort in knowing that he will never be forgotten, he'll always be with me, in the wind, water, earth and air.
I love you Jim, this Squirt's for you!