|Robert leading his youngest daughter up the aisle two months ago.|
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.
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.