One year ago today, my husband came rushing in the front door around noon yelling at me about having my phone turned off. Of course my phone wasn't turned off; it was just lost somewhere in the midst of the chaos and the battery was dead. Nothing new. I was annoyed but he looked rumpled and frazzled, and instead of yelling at him about yelling at me, my heart sunk. I was 100% sure he was going to tell me that he was home in the middle of the day because he had just lost his job.
"Scott passed away this morning."
That didn't sound like the words I was expecting to come out of his mouth, so I said, "What?"
He said it again.
I said, "What?" again.
Blah, blah, something about early this morning.
Blah, blah, something about in his sleep.
More blah, blah, something about my dad calling him at work because he couldn't get a hold of me. Blah, blah, blah, something about "Oh shit, Jerry."
"What? What? What? What?"
365 days later I can still feel in my eye sockets how wide my eyes were and how I kept shaking my head and was so confused. I think I probably said, "What?" while shaking my head about a thousand times.
He hugged me while I kept saying, "What?" Neither of us cried; that came later. He and the little kids left to go pick up the girls from their friend's house and I was alone. I am sure right now, with hindsight, that the proper thing to do was not to go on Facebook and post: OH MY GOD, MY BROTHER DIED 20 minutes after finding this out. But I was alone and shaking and not ready to talk to anyone on the phone and most all my friends and family live in my computer. And I'm fairly sure that I never had learned the etiquette of how to handle yourself on social media when your 32-year-old brother passes away from sleep apnea. Or if I did, I guess I don't remember those particular rules for special circumstances.
Anyway, that's how the first hour went down. I am thinking about it a lot this morning, and thinking that I probably don't want to view the Timehop app today.
Do you see this picture? For anyone who didn't know him, let me tell you a few things about my (biggest) little brother: He could be kind of a jerk. Seriously, he often wasn't very nice when we were kids, and he didn't have the best track record for rule-following or moral imperatives as a teenager or even an adult sometimes. But something had changed in the year before this day, August 8, 2013. Edges were softening and there was a purpose and direction and healing going on.
I say this because people always want to glorify their deceased loved ones. I don't want to do that because that is not honest at all. Of course we got along quite well for the most part as adults, despite bumps in the road, and I am thankful that we are a very close family. But if I don't honestly remember the negatives about him, then his really great sides aren't as positive either. And this picture I'm sharing - it represents a lot of the really great parts of him, they show who he really was inside.
The little figurines? They are Shirt-Tails, for anyone who remembers. He loooooooved Shirt-Tails when we were kids, probably a lot longer than he should have <shhhhhhh>. He kept these two guys so long that I found them on his kitchen windowsill when we went to go clean out his house after the memorial service. Probably they were there for the benefit of his kids, but I still find it amusing that they were still with him 25+ years later.
The picture on the program from the service is him wearing a Vikings jersey (typical) and wearing the big pink dress-up hat three-year-old Hannah had just opened that Christmas morning. Also typically goofy.
But the thing I treasure most of all is that index card. I found it in his papers. It lists in his own handwriting the names of his kids, my kids, and our other brother's son. I can only assume what it is from and I don't really need to get into it in this type of forum, but it seriously touched me to come across it. Any good dad loves his kids, and he was no different. But to know that he also kept in mind his nieces and nephews and tried to better his life for all of them together...wow. I am touched in their honor and so incredibly thankful to be able to remember him like this.