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.



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

51 responses to “Blue Eyes Crying


    You are so right about family, Elyse. Wonderful post, from the heart. The older I get, and I’m pretty damn old now, the more I understand their value. In all the world, it seems to me, family is the only source of unearned love. (Note: dogs are included in “family.”)
    I noticed yesterday that John McCain’s daughter, Bridget, spoke at his Arizona ceremony. She was obviously not a natural child, being quite dark, so I looked it up: She was found in a Bangladeshi orphanage and brought to the U.S. by Cindy McCain as a 3-month old child and adopted. That action speaks volumes, does it not?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh that was sad… felt the nostalgia at the beginning, and then the ending. I can’t imagine being lonely and angry and having had a difficult life. Seems so sad to be characterized in that way but there are many people like this and some in my life, too. Hope your family is well, Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m on “blog hiatus” this summer and haven’t even been reading posts. But an energy of some kind told me to check in this afternoon, and I’m glad I did. I’m so sorry to about your brother, Elyse. I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts. Be well… – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for checking in, Marty. And thanks for your sympathies. It’s a sad time, but he is now no longer sick, in pain, or suffering, and that’s a blessing.

      Enjoy the rest of your hiatus!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All good wishes to you and your family. I wish I could clap my hands twice and make all the hurt go away but that’s not how it works. Hang in there. I’m not a churchy kind of guy but will say a little prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry for your loss, Elyse. Bob sounds like quite a character. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One of the shortcomings of the internets is that it is restricted to just words and pictures when a hug is the only appropriate response.

    Rest in peace, Bob.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, Elyse, my heart breaks for you. Wrap all those memories around you and take comfort from them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Big cyber hugs to you and your family, Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My brother is considerably older (at 88) but we’ve always been close. I can’t imagine losing him but it will happen. My heart goes out to you. Hopefully you will be able to see him before he goes. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Even though he may have been kind of a rough character, it sounds to me like you’re going to miss him. Just let those blue eyes cry for a while. We understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nicely done, Elyse. I am sorry. Let me know what I can do. – Keily

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Keily.

      There really isn’t anything. As you know, it’s just something to plow through during these early days, and then keep breathing once the reality hits. But I am so very sad.


  12. I am so sorry to hear such sad news. My thought are with you and hope you can get there to be with Bob. No matter what heartaches and misunderstandings have gone before, family is family. Happy memories are even more precious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, Bob passed away this morning, Monday. We didn’t make it. But both Fred and I were able to talk to him, to let him know that we love him, and hopefully give him some comfort.

      And you’re right, the happy memories will hold us.


  13. Sending the warmest thoughts to you and yours Elyse xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re dealing with this right now. The bike story made me laugh. I will hold you both in a light of love, healing, and peace ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. The bike story makes me laugh too. But you should know that all of my toes are intact! We all laughed about it together.

      I am comforted by the hope that he is with all the others who have gone before. There is a large contingent of my family now hanging out together in the next life, wherever that may be. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  15. So sorry for your brother’s illness and for the pain that you are all going through. What vivid and precious memories Elyse.That’s where all our loved ones live on, in our hearts and minds as they have been part of who we are now. To be able to recall those moments, and still laugh as if it were yesterday is what makes them so precious, and momentarily gives us back what we have lost. Laughter is a wonderful legacy to leave imprinted on our minds. Sending you all warmest wishes ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such a beautiful comment, Helen. Thank you.

      I know Bob, as well as my parents and my sisters live on. Actually I think they are welcoming Bob tonight. I am not a religious person, but I know that they are together somewhere. And they are having a blast.


  16. My heartfelt prayers are with you and your family. There are no good explanations for the winding down of life. We try to make sense of it, but often we’re simply left holding onto that invisible chain of memories that bond us to one another because of what we’ve been through together.
    Hold onto those and please let us know how you’re doing so we can hold onto you. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Barb. I am doing OK. In my all to extensive experience, it’s down the line that one feels a loss more deeply.

      But there are many good memories and stories. Bob was equally good and difficult. He had a big heart.


  17. Oh God. I am so sorry.
    “Moreover, as an adult he has been a difficult guy. Reclusive, introverted, angry. His has been a difficult life.”
    There is no doubt I would really like him.
    And you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Cindy. Bob was a paradox. Loving and difficult. But at least now I can focus on the loving part, because he can no longer be difficult. I guess that is the silver lining I hadn’t seen before.

      But I will miss him.


  18. My heart goes out to you. I know there are no magic words that will provide comfort but experience has taught me focusing on the time you had together (as you have here) helps . . . a little. You will be in my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I wish there were magic words or wands or something. But I know from experience that there aren’t. We writers need to work on that. 😏


  19. I am so very sorry to read about your brother. It is difficult to lose a sibling or any family member. And especially one that had a difficult life. I am sure that you feel inadequate. But you will endure. You are strong.

    My sis died in March and I grieved for the loss and for her difficult life. My sis was schizoaffective and refused all attempts I made to get her into treatment. She.was my only sibling- I loved her very much.

    I hope you are ok health wise and that you will be able to endure what lies ahead. Hugs to you, dear lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for words, and I am sorry for the loss of your sister as well. It is so hard to lose someone who has always been there, and whom you think always will be. Sucks.

      I will tell you that it doesn’t get better with practice. I’m the youngest of five, and our two sisters have passed already. And yes, when someone has had a difficult life, I think it is harder.

      But you know what they say. Life sucks then you die. 😟💩

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Deb

    Thinking of you and your family Elyse, and hoping for strength for all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hugs, Elyse. Hospice is never fun, but those nurses are wonderful, both to the patient and to the family. For what it’s worth, I’ll be thinking of you, as will many of your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, CM. I agree. Everybody has been gentle and kind and wonderful. They can’t change the situation, but they make me feel less like he’s alone.

      Thanks for your kind thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I’ll send you lots of prayers and strength to get through the coming days.
    I’m so glad you have those wonderful memories of him!

    Liked by 1 person

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