My brother lost his battle with cancer on February 21st. The duel title of this column is to recognize that there were two tragedies that night both of which will be with me forever. My brother Dennis was my first oldest brother, six year older than I and he and I shared many experiences over his short but eventful life.
The first I've wrote about before that when our father passed he tried to entertain my seven year old self in the hospital and provided me with an ice cream treat to try to normalize the situation; impossible to do but he did it because it is a lasting memory. Dennis was a cut up, always cracking jokes and playing pranks. My favorite to this day is when he pretended to take a picture of me when he caught me smoking a cigarette at the ripe old age of 12; he used that "picture" for a couple of years anytime I misbehaved by threatening to show it to our mother.
After graduating high school and a brief stint of living with my oldest brother Bruce in Pontiac Michigan, I moved back to Hubbell, homesick mostly, and lived with Dennis and his two sons Nathan and Dennis Jr, or Buzz as he likes to be called. I enjoyed that time of my life and gained some valuable experience in parenting two young children.
I addressed my experiences with his boys during my eulogy with my focus being on them both building off of this experience, albeit a negative one, as any death can be. Our one and only road trip came after Nathan was in a car accident as a teen. In those twenty hours on the road, (there and back), he learned a lot about me, my memories of father, and just my plans for life. One of our commonalities is that we both liked the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies. I took him to "New Nightmare," we got there early thinking it would be sold out; we were the only two people in the theater. We laughed at the kills and talked through the whole movie. My main worries now that he's gone are his daughters. I addressed them both at the funeral as well.
For Crystal I talked about her love of life and how to hang on to it. For Rylee, his youngest daughter, I gave this advice: this event can point you in two different directions if you choose; one is to use it as an excuse to misbehave, to do nothing. Or, the road I encouraged is to make her father proud in everything she does in life. I'm confident that she'll choose that option. I will miss my brother.
The second event of that day isn't something I'll go into great detail; those who read this paper, listen to the radio, or watch the TV6 News knows of the event. I created a Facebook page Ashes to Rebirth and a ww.Fundly.com page of the same name. I want to create something from the ashes to help ease the loss of both my brother and of that home. Take a moment and check out the pages mentioned above. Rest in peace my brother, I love you, all is forgiven.