So many of you have shared condolences and support after the death of my beloved brother Bill from COVID-19. I wish I could thank you individually, but until I can please know that I carry your kindness and compassion with me every day.
The stages of grief evolve without warning. Shock blends into horror, anger shifts into sorrow. We lost Bill in August, and I’ve consciously buried myself in work and caring for my dogs.
I’m clearly in the gumdrop stage of grief, because I’m slamming back DOTS but the boxful. They remind me of Bill and when he went through a phase of only wanting to eat orange slices candy that lasted for years.
Few weeks ago, I adopted a puppy (I named her Tuesday) and I totally did it so I can have something to nurture … something that is alive and cuddles. I now have three dogs! Four if you count my dog nephew Ed. They've all been wearing me out so I can sleep at night.
In my dreams, my brother ‘is.’
Alive. Happy. Excited for Thanksgiving and sometimes foods.
In my dreams, I’m getting a menu together for our pre-Turkey Day dinner with Bill. We always go to Kentucky for the November holiday, so we used to …
We used to.
Normally, I’d be prepping for that celebration dinner and getting anxious over what to get Bill for Christmas.
But my brother ‘was.’
He no longer ‘is’, except as memories and far too many regrets.
During a recent board meeting, I messaged someone on Zoom and typed “My brother was ...” and just seeing those words took my breath away.
He didn’t deserve this, catching COVID-19 or the strokes that followed, nor catching the Delta Variant and the devastation it brought so quickly. Bill sure as shit didn’t deserve to live in a community filled with selfish anti-mask assholes who gleefully created an environment that put disabled people like Bill at risk.
Bill didn’t deserve this, but this is what he got.
And so, my brother ‘was.’
Hilarious, mischievous, so sweet, sometimes a total asshole, a food hound, the KitKat king, handsome, autistic, aphasic, a Black man.
His memory is a blessing, until we meet again.
Bless you for writing this. Again, your brother was lucky he had you.
May you someday make it to the place where your brother is all blessing and no regret. A tall order for anyone, I know, but if anyone deserves it, you do.
-Doug in Sugar Pine
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