September 11, 2016

Another loss

Toward the sun

Blond Brother-in-law was only 19 when he married my oldest sister. He’s been part of my family for my entire adult life.

Everyone loved Blond Brother-in-law for his easy-going disposition. He was always calm and reassuring, and easy to please. He was happy with the simple things of life: a swim at camp, a well-cooked meal, or a movie he hadn’t seen yet. He loved our family trips to camp. Every evening, he stood at the grill, making food for everyone, never sitting down until everyone else had been fed. When we’d go out to the islands for a swim, he’d be the first in the water. He knew how to relax: he’d lie in the shallows when the water was warm, just letting the water rock him back and forth, or he’d climb to the top of the island and flop into the old wooden chair where he’d take a nap in the sun.

At holiday events at my house, Blond Brother-in-law always came to the kitchen to help with the food. That meant I could relax. I knew he’d refill the punch bowl, or rescue the rolls from burning, or check the potatoes, or clean the dirty dishes off the counter, or anything else that needed to be done. He loved to be helpful. If I mentioned to Blond Brother-in-law that I needed to buy something, he’d go online, do some research to see where the best place to get it would be, and then send me the link.

Blond Brother-in-law’s cheerful, easy-going nature remained, even when he had surgery on his spine that cost him the use of his right leg, even when he had to leave his job and go out on disability, even when he was diagnosed with cancer, even when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, even when his wife died just three months after her diagnosis, even when his cancer returned, and even when the oncologists finally told him this summer that there was nothing more they could do. Through the last three years, his concern has been for his three daughters. He wanted to spare them any pain. He knew that even though the three daughters are grown-ups, losing two parents in less than two years is a lot to deal with.

The last couple of weeks of the summer, we took shifts to stay with Blond Brother-in-law around the clock. We had to keep upping his dosage of morphine to keep him out of pain, and soon he was sleeping most of the time. He died peacefully, slipping away mid-morning, just like Blonde Sister did almost two years ago.

He was 54 years old.

30 comments:

37paddington said...

I am so sorry for your loss. He was so young and clearly such a stellar human being. This world will miss him.

L said...

54. So so sad, so heartbreaking. I'm happy to know that his daughters will always have wonderful memories of their parents and the love they had for them. I can't imagine the pain of losing both parents so young as your nieces. Thanks for sharing these beautiful words about him, literally a marvelous, amazing person to have in one's family.

Lots of love to your nieces, grand-niece, and your whole family.

Far Side of Fifty said...

My sympathy. It must be hard for everyone that knew him :(

What Now? said...

I'm so, so sorry, Jo(e). What a hard two years your family has had. I'm glad that you all have such warm and loving memories.

Michelle said...

I am so sorry, for you, and for his daughters.

MJ said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. And so saddened to think about his daughters dealing with this double loss.

Flavia said...

I'm so sorry, Jo(e).

So much loss, and much too soon.

Elephant's Child said...

I am so very sorry.

susan said...

I am so very sorry....what a loss.

Cat Lover said...

So sorry for your loss. He sounded like a wonderful man.

DJan said...

What a wonderful tribute to a fine person. Yes, that would be very hard to have happen to you, losing both parents so quickly. And so young! My heart goes out to you and all who loved him. :-(

Bardiac said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Jo(e). My thoughts are with you and your family, especially his two daughters.

This is, indeed, a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person.

Lomagirl said...

What sadness, Jo. What a blessing for you and your family to be with him and to be able to surround him with love.

Jeanie said...

I'm so very, very sorry for your loss. He sounds like such a wonderful man, so courageous, kind, caring. When people like that leave our world, the hole is deep indeed.

Sending love, hugs and wishes for peace and healing as you and your family go forward. Your tribute is beautiful. I know he deserves every word.

lizardek said...

How awful for you all. I'm so sorry for your loss.

JaneB said...

Many condolences... at least your nieces have the rest of the family to share their loss.

Lorianne said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and for your family's loss, and for your nieces' loss. I know your family will pull together to help one another during this difficult time. I hope it brings some comfort to know lots of people who never met your brother-in-law are praying for you and your family.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, my gosh... i'm so sorry. he sounds like a wonderful soul - what a great addition to your family and a strong human being. i'm sorry.

Zhoen said...

What a beautiful essay about a beautiful human.

(o)

Susie said...

Dear Jo(e)... I am so sorry for your losses..so heartbreaking. So young. Please accept my condolences. I will hold the family in my prayers. Bless you, xoxo, Susie

Val said...

Oh, jo(e), I'm so very sorry. Your family has experienced so many huge changes and losses in such a short time. My heart aches for you all.

robin andrea said...

Tears rolling down my cheeks for someone I did not know, but whose heart was knowable through your words. My deepest sympathies to all loved Blond-brother-in-law.

Martha said...

I am sad for your family. How wonderful to have such good memories of a loved family member. And, how wonderful for him to have been part of such a loving family.

Michelle said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a terrible thing for his daughters to go through.

Anonymous said...

My condolences on the loss of your beloved brother-in-law. There are holes that take a long time to be filled, if ever. I am so sorry.

ChrisinNY

Liz Miller said...

Such a tremendous loss. I am so sorry. Thinking of your family and particularly your nieces. And sending love and hugs.

Jennifer said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I don't know what comfort a stranger can offer, but I send what I can.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I am so sorry for your loss and your family's loss. :(

BrightenedBoy said...

I'm so sorry. You're such a strong person, surrounded by so much love. If anyone can navigate this loss, it's you and the people you write about so beautifully.

kathy a. said...

((( joe(e) and everybody )))

Much love. He was a good man. xoxoxo