Earlier today, standing in my driveway, I watched a shower of golden-yellow pecan leaves falling in a lovely, slow circle. It was my first moment home since my brother Dave died. We buried him yesterday.
Autumn is coming, and usually, I love it. But it brings with it, this next October, both Dave’s birthday and within a few days, mine. I’ll miss him especially, then.
I’m told that in the late summer, when things are hottest, and water is scarce, trees pull back from their leaves to conserve moisture. This causes the foliage on deciduous trees to die, and tumble to the ground. It’s a process.
Healing after loss is also a process that my big, blended family understands all too well. We came from three different roots, and as Dave said at our last funeral gathering, not yet two years ago, all of the six children in our family were orphans of one sort or another. That coming together and growing out of difficult circumstances is part of what makes us beautiful, to me. There’s more to that thought, but I’ll stop there.
What I will say is a few, brief things about Dave. He’s not my biological brother, but we’ve been siblings since he was five years-old, and I was two. He was always kind to me, and I loved him. We rode motorcycles together as kids, and he jokingly pulled my pigtails until my head jerked from side to side when he asked me to go with him. I always went.
Dave’s smile is what I remember, even in the hard times. He was witty, and he made me laugh. He famously loved music, statistics, sports, travel, wine, and life, among other things. He adored his wife, Teresa, and his children. He was intelligent and beat all sorts of odds. He was well-educated, in spite of school struggles.
For decades, Dave dreamed of moving to the hill country, specifically to Wimberly, Texas. This past January, he and Teresa did just that. They were living the dream, literally. His Facebook page is strewn with photos of happy memories in their new home, with his family, some just a few short days before he died.
A peek at Dave’s Facebook profile’s will also tell even the casual observer that Dave was passionate about politics, and that is why my title today mentions taxes. Some of us agreed with him, some of us are apolitical, and some of us hid his posts. But we all loved him, no matter what. Our diversity, and our respect towards one another in those differences, is another thing I like about our mingled family.
When my sister Allison died suddenly nearly twenty years ago, I learned rather dramatically that humans are never guaranteed the next conversation, let alone the next breath. When Dave died suddenly this past Tuesday, due to apparent heart issues, that same lesson was underlined. For that reason, and others, and with Teresa’s hearty endorsement, I’m loading up her plant babies from the funeral, I’m throwing the same bag I packed to stay with my dad into my car, and I’m leaving in the morning to drive these newly-acquired, leafy gifts to their mama. She didn’t have room to take them when she left today, and they certainly need her green thumb more than they need me to water them until she gets back. I’m leaving at first light, and I’m excited. Teresa is incredibly kind to me, also, and I’m grateful for her friendship.
So Dave, here’s to you. We meant to come to see your new place sooner, but we didn’t get the chance. I’m making time now. We’ll talk of you tomorrow, and we’ll miss you like crazy.
But for now, dear brother, goodnight. May you rest in peace. ❤️
I was calling
For the last time
We’ve been here before
They found pictures in the snow
I can tell your eyes
Looked beneath the blue
I walk underneath the trees for the first time