Lessons in Death

My brother just died after a long battle with Cancer. Fucking Cancer.

Anyone that knew us knew we were polar opposites.
He was Republican – I am a Democrat
He had 4 kids – I have no biological kids
He was aligned to my Mom — I was aligned to my Dad
He watched horror movies — Me — NOPE!!
But we were still brother and sister and toward the end of his life we learned to put away our differences and found appreciation in common ground.

We even took a funny picture at my Dad’s funeral.
“Look Dad, your kids are getting along”

My mother took us all to Disney after my Dad died. It was probably one of the best weeks of my life. Jim and I had time to just hang out together and enjoy food and rides and the company of family.

Its a Small World Ride

Jon and I got married in May. My brother and my humor continued as you can see in the photo below.

My wedding May 27th, 2018.

When I knew his life was coming to an end, I started to text him. I realized there were so many things I didn’t know.
Here are a few out takes from our conversations —

His Favorite Bible Verse
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who calld you out of the darkness into his marvelous light 1 Peter 2:9

I asked him is favorite thing about each of his kids

Jackie – her humor
Jenny – her kindness
Jasmine – her humor
Colin – his thoughtfulness

The last text from him said “Thanks” in response from me texting him “Happy Birthday from the Bahamas”

Two days before he passed I did a Facebook Video call to tell him goodbye. (thank you Kris)
I’m sad I didn’t get to hold his hand or put my hand on his cheek in those final hours — but at least I got to say goodbye.

I know he is in a better place, with those we loved that passed before us.

RIP Jim.

The Funeral

Originally posted on Socci.com November 13th, 2015

The kids and I did some of the planning together. We went to the funeral home together and picked out the various things, the urn, the prayer cards, etc. Hedy and Norma had suggested doing the funeral itself at the Deep River Congregational Church…honestly at first I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have a formal funeral. We were not church going people, even though we both did believe in God…we are more of the spiritual/we are made of stardust kind of folks. but, after such an outcry of attention from friends and family near and far…I decided to go ahead. Norma and I met with the minister to plan the service. Tim Haut, the minister, was amazing. We planned the service a few weeks out so that Hedy (the kids Mom) could be there.

I choose a few entries from Charley’s blog to be read. Invictus was read by our friend Rex Denton, and A Letter from Rudyard Kipling was read by Charley’s step-sister Linda Compton.

And there was music. Tony Sherr played “Peace of Mind” and Alex Nakhimovsky, Frank Lombardo, and Rex Denton played Ave Maria and another selection that seemed to be a mashup of Charley’s music. They were all incredible.

I made it through giving the eulogy. and other friends had some lovely words to say about Charley.

Norma gave a heart wrenching speech of how unfair and unfinished she feels about her Dad’s death. Very honest and very on point. I am proud of her courage for getting up and being honest about how much this just sucks.

We ended the service singing “this little light”. It was something Charley had been playing a lot in the last month he was alive. All the guys got up and played. It reminded me of the New Orleans mummer parade. It was absolutely beautiful.