Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Now there are three....

Something happenned yesterday for which I was not prepared. Being prepared for death is hard work and I am not sure if any of it is easy. My brother Michael died Sunday evening at home, in bed, after a easy Sunday around the house.

Mike had "an episode" several weeks ago where his blood pressure had skyrocketed in the middle of the night and he was taken to the ER until it could be stabilized. Something just wasn't right and Mike went to sleep and did not wake up. Not a bad way to go I presume yet this one bothers me.

When my parents passed away everyone said, " it was a good life" and "things are better for them now". To be sure that was true my father had been ill for a very long time and even he was more than ready. I am not sure Michael was. He was only sixty. That was elderly a hundred years ago but today we are living a great deal longer. The scary news is Mike is only five years.....actually four years and some months older than I. So the call to move into the time of life that sees others go and come seems to be at hand.

I am not going to presume that I know the ins and outs of what happens when one dies. I am convinced that it is the preminent question of life. And to run away from the thought and inevitability of death is a futile activity. I fool around with the history of my family-geneologically. Everyone who has come before has passed away. Sounds like something out of Forrest Gumps lips but it is true. Part of process and function of life is the closing of death and its transformation into what is next.

Michael leaves his wife, three children, two grandchildren and of course his car. If we could afford it we should bury Mike in his car. Would be fitting. I believe we could tell his life story by the different automobiles that he had utilized. From hopped up 1956 Chevy Station Wagon Nomads to sports cars to rebuilt classics. As a Junior High Student having Mike pick me up in his British Racing Green sports car from school was a thrill. He liked going fast and was fond of sliding into the driveway on pleasant place jacking the handbrake in a four wheeled slide.

I am rather pleased he never came to visit. He would be appalled at my garage. He would tell me something to the tune that I am cluttered with teaching thoughts and need to get my brain back on terra firma which translated meant get your tools in shape. My wife would adore his work ethic and voice out loud why I cannot be more like he. She has secretly been envious of my brothers wife. My wife can identify she is a doer as well, just no project or garage skills like Michael.

When my Mother died there was some family squabbling, as there sometimes is, over this and that. And Mike and I would sit on his lawn while I smoked cigars and he smoked cigarettes and talk about being a kid and "the old Man", his term for our Dad, and I learned a bunch. He had values. He wondered why he never made it in the car or dune buggy or some kid of auto business yet he never gave up. Always had something going. He was a doer. I am told he just about vacuumed the lawn before he was finished. Me, I mow it when the neighbors start yelling.

Me ......well, I have not felt well since I heard the news. Took to my sleep regime to be sure I not deprived of any rest. Took a nap yesterday, went to bed early although I was up most of the night watching DIGGING FOR HISTORY, slept in late today and wonder when I am going to get the gumption to get a few things done.

He was my big brother and I have never had life without him. I will miss him.......the old curmudgeon.