January 21, 2001
I lost a brother early in the morning that day. I loved him so much and though I tried to tell him, I don’t know if I succeeded in getting the message across. Funny for a writer, eh? Even after all this time, a memory still sneaks in and captures me, even if for a brief moment.
This week, I was remembering when we first watched Galaxy Quest together. I’d traveled to Indianapolis in the summer of 2000 to spend time with him in the Ronald McDonald House, where he stayed while getting treatment for leukemia.
My brother was over six feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds. He had a thick head of hair, so I’ll never forget first seeing his bald head (my brother was so into his hair when we were in high school) and the mask over his nose. All I could see were his bright blue eyes peering back at me. He was quieter than usual, but never lost his sense of humor. His words were carefully chosen that week, but we still found time to laugh.
One of the nights I stayed with him, he pulled out Galaxy Quest. My brother was probably one of the biggest Home Improvement/Tim Allen fans ever. Combine that with his geekdom (and mine) and this movie was perfect. This is still one of my favorite movies and I think of him when I watch it. I remember how much we laughed and how much I wish I’d hidden a tape recorder in the room so I could hear him laugh again.
Another memory that sticks out from that week is how much he hugged me. Trust me, our family was not a hugging bunch. Not by a long shot. The final hug came as I was to board a plane to come back to Houston. He hugged me so tightly I thought he was going to squeeze the air out of me. The hug took me off guard and if I’d known it was the last time I was going to see him standing up, or that it was the last hug he’d give me, I’d have hugged him harder and longer.
I am so grateful for the mind God gave me so I can remember my brother. How wondrous memories can be, and tomorrow I will be thinking of how much my brother made me laugh and how he would have loved to see the Indianapolis Colts get to a Super Bowl (I’m still an optimist when it comes to my team!).
If there’s someone in your life that you love, even if words fail you, a hug can speak volumes. I felt how much my brother could never say that day. I’ll cherish that moment for the rest of my life.
Laugh with me, and remember.