As time goes by, things change. One thing I’ve noticed is, the more people that I know die, the less worried I am about dying. Hey, there’s a welcome party assembling on the other side, right? The more loved ones that have passed on, the more people I hope to see when my time comes.
Fred’s brother Danny passed away January 4th. He had a rough time the last few years, losing a leg to a broken ankle and inept medical care, then being diagnosed with a lung tumor after years of smoking various substances, having a lobe removed (thankfully not cancer), then a few weeks later being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He had the tumor removed in a 1-1/2 hour surgery, everything went great, and he was feeling back to his normal self. He was discharged from the hospital December 23rd, went to stay with Mom, and he was on top of the world. And I mean, on top of the world. He had slightly slurred speech, but otherwise was fully functional–after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, you don’t think you’re going to survive, you know? He came through the surgery great, and he was in the best mood ever when I saw him on December 23rd. I went over to take Mom shopping for Christmas Eve, her usual gathering to celebrate Christmas with family. I asked Danny if he was feeling up to having people over, that we’d be more than happy to skip it if he wasn’t feeling up to it, and he wouldn’t hear of it. He was SO happy to have survived the surgery, to get good news, that he wanted to celebrate with everyone. And that’s what we did.
Christmas Eve was great–fantastic food, family and friends, etc. Danny was ecstatic–he had a second chance coming through the surgery, was grateful for all of his blessings, and was embracing life. In all the 20+ years I’ve known him, I have NEVER seen him more happy. I baked him some old-fashioned molasses oatmeal cookies, something he was craving December 23rd, and he was happily munching away on some along with a cup of coffee Christmas Eve. He even had me slip one into his pocket to enjoy when he went to bed later that evening, which I happily did. Seeing the sparkle in his eye was so special. He had exceptional holidays, and I’m glad I was fortunate to be a part of it.
New Year’s Day came, and he began to have complications, resulting in an ambulance being called to take him to the hospital. Blood clots formed, then the blood wouldn’t clot. If he had survived, he would have lost his other leg and a hand due to blockages in flow–there’s no way he would have tolerated that. With God calling him Home January 4th, he is whole again–no pain, no suffering, and reuniting with his father and beloved older brother. It leaves Mom behind, with the fact that NO PARENT should ever have to bury their child…and she’s buried both her children, as well as her husband. It’s hard, but I’ll be here for her as best as I can be.
We’ll bury Danny Friday, next to his brother Fred. I’ll grieve, along with the rest of the family. I’ll remember all the fun times we had, the fishing trips, the camping trips, the times we shared when Fred was dying of cancer, the times we shared afterwards, the memories we made. The two brothers are together once again, and I hope to see them one day…if I’m lucky.
Life…gotta keep plodding along…right?