18 September 2012

Goodbye Big Brother

Robert leading his youngest daughter up the aisle two months ago.
I cried on the cat. She was very good about it. I held her tightly and finally sobbed as I'd wanted and needed to do for several hours. Ever since I found out that my one and only sibling, my big brother Robert had died.

Robert Hourula was one month shy of his 65th birthday. He had four fantastic children and one grandchild. He was as good a big brother as anyone has ever had. I feel so alone and so....

All I now know is that Robert died in his sleep. He'd been plagued by various ailments for years and was hoping to avoid any further prolonged hospital stays. He hated hospitals. He won't have to deal with them anymore. But I don't get to see him on Thanksgiving or Christmas or at barbecues at his house. I called him yesterday and left a message because I wanted to see if we could have lunch Friday, my last weekday off until Thanksgiving.

Shit.

The older I get the more people I know who die. This is not unusual in human experience. It particularly afflicts people with friends and families. I do not have either a huge family or a whole lot of friends but there are enough that every so often someone close to me is gone. Forever.

But only one of them was my big brother. We used to toss the football back and forth when I was a kid. He was a lot older and traveled a lot and would bring me presents. When I was an older teen I would visit him and he'd buy wine and drink with me. I could talk to him about most anything and did.

Actually we didn't have a lot in common. He inherited the fishing gene from my dad and I inherited the sports fan gene. He became a Christian and I became an atheist. But we always got along. In later years we would reminisce a lot about childhood, the Berkeley we grew up in and of course family. He seemed to love telling stories and was becoming as accomplished at it as my dad was.

Of course this is what your supposed to do, happily remember  a person's life and not simply mourn their death. Death can, after all, be the exclamation point on a life well lived. Robert's life was a decade two  too short but he made the most of what he had. A family that loves him so is sufficient evidence of that.

I miss you, big brother and am shocked that you are gone so abruptly. I'm damn sorry I didn't tell you how much I loved you and how much you meant to me. Maybe I never fully realized what a positive impact you had on my life and what a great example you set for me. Just like a big brother should.


6 comments:

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Very sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful guy.

Anonymous said...

Please accept my condolonces on the loss of your brother. I lost one of my brothers last year and your post really captured that loss for me. The grief is tempered by the light of loved ones that shines in our hearts.

elizabethditty.com said...

So sorry for your loss. Sending hugs across the internet to you.

Anonymous said...

My son and Johannes are good buddies and Sirpa is a dear friend. Though we didn't know Robert as well, we knew how much his family loved him. We are so saddened by his passing and we offer our love and deepest sympathies to you, his little brother. May God comfort you in this time of grieving and sadness.

John/24Frames said...

Sorry for your loss Richard.

dri said...

Wow that's a wonderful text about losing someone, and I really feel sorry for you.