....wanted to turn right instead of left after I dropped kids off at school. Turning right used to mean an impromptu visit with my brother first thing in the morning when he was fresh and at his best. Some of my best memories.
Having to turn left today means going home and just thinking about him and missing our visits. Sometimes I have to say out loud "my brother is dead." Just to myself as a reminder that he really is gone. It might seem weird but I sometimes have to do it. Like yesterday. I re-read his obituary too online. I just sometimes can't believe he is really gone.
Last night Blake had his first Cub Scout Pack Meeting. My brother's youngest son is in Cub Scouts with Blake. I watched Ethan get a bunch of awards last night and just blinked really fast to hold back tears. I know how proud Jason would have been to watch Ethan last night and support him in the scouting program. I know that was one of the hardest things Jason had to come to terms with about dying....was leaving his family with his children so young. He so badly just wanted to hang on until they had all graduated from high school.
And while talking about my brother, this past weekend, one of my biggest fears happened. I met a new couple that came camping with us. We sat around in our chairs down in the water chatting. Getting to know each other. And then the question came that I have been so dreading. You see whenever you are trying to get to know someone (at least in Napa) the same questions always come up.....what year did you graduate? what high school did you go to? and....do you have any brothers and sisters? It's kind of a small town and usually everyone is connected to someone in some way or another. So we were chatting and the first two questions came and I answered. And then the third question was asked....so innocently....and I paused and couldn't answer. I didn't know what to say. I didn't how to talk about Jason while his death was so fresh. I didn't know how to answer the question. I didn't want to mislead this new friend that would then lead to more questions like 'do they live in Napa?'. Instead, I just froze. Tried to take a deep breath but instead burst out crying. Right there sitting in the river surrounded by friends and this new couple I was trying to get to know better. I felt horrible. I didn't want to make the new friends uncomfortable....but I couldn't talk. I just cried. And I looked around and my friends were crying with me. And then, to ease the confusion that was building on the new friends' faces....I softly said "I'm sorry...my brother just passed away a month ago and you were the first person to ask me the question I was dreading most....but I knew it was going to happen. Please don't feel bad." Then we all sat around and chatted about good people...and why it always seem that it's the good people that are taken from us too early. And I got to know our new friends. We all decided right then and there that not one moment should ever be taken for granted and we resolved to all do better to appreciate each other and the time we have with our loved ones. And I loved our chats the rest of the weekend with them. And loved my old friends even more for crying with me.
Now I need some suggestions....because I still don't know how to answer that question...."Do you have any brothers or sisters?" I know I can answer yes...1 brother and 1 sister, but I don't want to mislead people that I am really trying to get to know and then have them shocked when they find out that my brother passed away so recently. Or continue to ask more questions. Any suggestions would be wonderful. I just seem to be at a loss for words on how to answer.
I had planned on posting camping pics today....but had more pressing things I needed to write about. Please come back tomorrow for some fun camping pics!