Monthly Archives: August 2018

Do Me A Favor?

“Lease,” said my parents, or my older siblings, “would you do me a favor?”

Mostly I did it, whatever “it” was.  Or my brother, Fred, did it.  We were the youngest, and were the runners, who went to get a Coke, or a pretzel, or a snack for our older family members. Even now, we’re still doing favors.

But there was one “favor” that none of my siblings did for Fred and me.  But they should have.

You know if you’ve been reading my blogs, that my eldest brother Bob recently died.  He didn’t do this favor for me.  Neither did my sister Beth, who died in 2009.  Nor did Judy, who kicked the bucket unexpectedly in 2000.  Nobody knows when they’re going.

DO YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS A FAVOR. 

MAKE A WILL.  MAKE A LIVING WILL AND A MEDICAL DIRECTIVE. 

TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT DONE WITH YOUR REMAINS.  WITH YOUR STUFF.

My brother Bob died without a will.  Actually, he DID have a will, and a Power of Attorney — we found that he’d bought forms to be filled out, but they were still in the shrink-wrap.  I wanted to kill him. Without letting anybody know IN WRITING, what he wanted done with what, it was all guesswork.

Yes, when he was deathly ill, I had to trust my wonky memory of random conversations of what he would want.  I hope I remembered correctly, given that he died and I can’t change any of those decisions.  What did he want done regarding “heroic” measures by the doctors? What should we  do with his remains — burial? cremating?  And then what to do with those remains …

Did we do what he’d want?  I hope so.  We certainly tried.

Do yourself and your family members a favor.  Or maybe a few favors:

  • Make a will, even a simple one.  Let someone know where you keep it!
  • Do a living will, so that your wishes will be followed — and make sure family members know where it is.
  • Talk about what you want to do with your remains.  Burial?  Where? Cremation?  Where do you want those ashes to end up?

We took Bob to see one last sunset, before releasing him into the Gulf of Mexico.  I hope he is happy and resting in peace.

Bob in Adirondack chairs

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Filed under 2018, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Adult Traumas, Advice from an Expert Patient, Brothers, Clusterfuck, Curses!, Death, Family, Health, Holy Shit, I Can't Get No, Illness, Just Do It and I'll Shut Up!, Living Will, Make a Will

Take the Long Way Home

Some things never change.

“That boy was NEVER where he was supposed to be!” That was Mom’s mantra whenever telling her favorite stories of our childhood.  Invariably they involved Bob. (It sucks to be a late entry into a big family.)

“People talk about the ‘terrible twos!” she’d say.  “Well Bob was “a terrible two” for five years!”

Everybody agreed that Bob was quite a handful.

If you believe the stories, even before he could walk, Bob could escape:

  • His crib
  • His room
  • The house

He would leave the house, and appear at local businesses in his jammies.  He went to the local bakery where he was given donuts, at the local restaurants where he was given pancakes, and at the homes of relatives who lived in the neighborhood.  Usually before they had started their day.  He was a friendly little tike.  Or else he was hungry.

“I’m sure the whole neighborhood thought I was starving that kid!” Mom laughed. “I was mortified, and terrified that somebody would call the police on me for neglecting my son.”

Well, somethings never change.

Bob, after his death, escaped. And it cracked me up.

Bob was supposed to be sent to one funeral home, but he was sent to a different one.  It took nearly 24 hours to get him to the correct place.

I love the idea that Bob wandered around town, one last time.  I hope someone gave him a donut.

Some things never change.

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Filed under 2018, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, A Little Restraint, Perhaps, Brothers, Cool people, Crazy family members, Family, Hanky Alert, Holy Shit, Humor, laughter, Missing Folks, Mom Stories, Oh shit, Sad News, Seriously funny, Shit happens, Taking Care of Each Other

Blue Eyes Crying

We all have them.  All five of us were born with Mom and Dad’s Irish blue eyes. They light up with laughter and mischief.  Especially when we were all together.  The last time all seven of us were together, the jokes ricocheted around the room as if shot from an AK-47.

Eva Cassidy.  Bob gave her to me.

It’s one of my first memories.

We headed up Wells Street.  Bob, my eldest brother who is seven years older than me, was riding me on the bar of his bike.  I was about 3, and I sat happily on the bike, watching the baseball cards that were clothes-pinned to the spokes of the front wheel click.

“Lease,” Bob said, “Make sure to keep your feet out of the spokes!”  He didn’t tell me why.  Maybe he should have.

We turned onto Charles Street, next to St. Pat’s School.  Our brother Fred was standing there on the corner.

“It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen,” Fred has said 3,428 times in the intervening years.

It had never occurred to me before Bob mentioned it, but I was suddenly curious as to what would happen if I DID put one of my feet into the spokes. So I just put one little piece of my sneaker in.

“You guys came around the corner, and all of a sudden, the bike just STOPPED! In slow motion, Bob flew over you and the handlebars, and then you, Lease, flew over too, and landed on top of Bob.  The bike followed, and there was a big pile on the corner,” Fred has said, often.  “I laughed and laughed.”

The lesson I took from that experience was that if somebody tells you not to do something, think about why they are saying that.  They might just be right.  It’s possibly one of the more important life lessons I’ve ever learned.

Of course, he taught me many other things.  Big brothers do that.

Another lesson is that slapstick is hilarious.  Unless you’re the one slapped.

As I write this, my big brother Bob lies in hospice in Florida, dying.  His illness and deterioration happened incredibly quickly, and I can’t get there for a few more days for medical reasons.  Fred is trying to get there to be with him.  Bob is unresponsive, incoherent.  Mentally gone.

As Bob is unmarried and has no kids, the decisions for his care have fallen to me, as I was named his medical proxy, and I’ve shared that responsibility with Fred, just as the three of us shared the burden (along with Beth’s sons) when our sister Beth was in Charon’s boat.

Writing comforts me, and you are all my friends, who have read the stories of my childhood, my family. Bob hasn’t appeared in many of my stories, as he was much older.  He doesn’t fit into the narrative too often.  Moreover, as an adult he has been a difficult guy.  Reculsive, introverted, angry. His has been a difficult life.

But he was also a sensitive man, with a big heart that he kept well hidden.  A writer’s eye for detail, and a love of eclectic movies.  Like the brilliant comedy, What We Did On Our Vacation

Appreciate the folks you have who love you, and whom you love, no matter the differences.  No matter how big a pain in the butt they are.  Because you just never know.

 

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Filed under ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Adult Traumas, Cool people, Crazy family members, Family, Good Deed Doers, Good Works, Growing up, Hanky Alert, Humor, laughter, Love, Nurses are Wonderful, Sad News, Shit, Taking Care of Each Other