I just wanted to take a moment and post a few things that are on my mind today. I may ramble but I ask that you be patient with me.
I have big plans and I am looking so forward to what I can accomplish this year. I am excited about my blog and web site and how I am able to get my genealogy research organized. Unfortunately, this past week that excitement has taken a backseat.
Just before noon on New Year’s day I got a text from my sister that said my brother-in-law had suffered a massive stroke. Since then I have struggled with all kinds of feelings — sadness, anger, confusion. On Saturday, January 4, just before midnight, we got the call that we knew was coming. My brother-in-law had passed from this life!
I’m a strange kinda person. I struggle with my emotions. I wanted to reach out to my sister and my nieces and just hold them and comfort them. I also shrank back because I did not want to offend anyone. If I were to show everything I was feeling, people would probably think I was unstable! Why would anyone in their normal mind be afraid to reach out to their loved ones and offer them comfort?
I think, perhaps, that there is a little more to it than just that. I think that I am also dealing with the reality that I am having to take a good long look at my own mortality. What? Why would I say this? Let me explain. I was able to deal a little better with my dad’s passing. Even before he started to go downward health-wise, I sat down and talked to my wife and told her that I was ready. I knew my dad was not going to last forever and I had come to accept it. With my mother, I had accepted it. Their death was not a surprise and I took it as the normal “circle of life”.
With my brother-in-law, Al, it was (and is) different. Al is far too young. He’s only 59 and that is only 8 years older than I am. I’ve never had to deal with the death of a sibling or the spouse of a sibling. I mean, this is my generation! How can it be that Al, the one who I have always felt I was closer to than any other “in-law”, is actually gone?
Nevertheless, I have to face reality. I admit that I haven’t talked to Al as much as I should have in the last few years. Being in North Carolina kept me from seeing him very often but I did try to help him occasionally on Farmville! I have many fond memories of Al. I remember when I was still at home and throwing newspapers. We would load them all up in Al’s old brown van and listen to good ol’ ZZ Top – Fandango! I remember when Al worked at Halco Fence & Wire with all the rest of the family. I remember when he would visit and always bring a box of good ol’ Eckrich meats for us to have! I have so many wonderful memories of Al! I thank God that I have those and I can always dial those old memories up!
I remember when I left Paris, Texas in 1986 and moved to Mesquite. It was Susan and Al who took me in and helped me out. He didn’t have to do this, but that was Al. He was always willing to give a hand to someone. Even when my plans for getting my CDL fell through, Al was patient with me while I took a job at Captain D’s and raised the money to get my SL22. Al, you played a big part in me getting back to the Dallas area and because of that, a couple of years later I was able to meet my wonderful wife! Who knows what my life might have been like if Al wasn’t willing to help at that moment!
This Friday we will say goodbye to Al! I’m actually glad that the family has asked that we don’t wear black and that we dress for a celebration of Al’s life. The past few years have not been so good to Al but, in the big picture, he had a wonderful life and he also touched the lives of so many people.
I’m thankful that I am one of those who was touched by him!
Aloha Al! We will meet again and I look forward to that day!