Birthdays, Part 2 — Family

In the past, this was a day when I always had to buy two birthday cards.

One for Tim. One for Tom. My twin brothers.

Today, I only need to buy one. Actually, I didn’t even buy one. I texted Tom his Happy Birthday greeting. My how times have changed.

But, this isn’t about texting or cards or birthday dinners.

It’s about my two brothers — one of whom actually gets to celebrate (if he truly can) his birthday today and the other whom instead of sharing cake or pizza with, we simply remember fondly. Because he died.

If you’ve spent time here with me, then you probably know the story of my brother, Tim. I’m not going to rehash it here. Let’s just say tragic is an understatement, based on the circumstances, and more importantly, the timing of his death. To read about it, just click on the Tim category on the left.

The point for today, his birthday, is that I always feel horrible. I think of him a ton during the course of the year. But two days are always the worst. The anniversary of his death and his birthday. That’s when it hits me more than usual.

What can I say? I miss him. A lot. We can be described best as probably as caring yet unaffectionate as you can be. But just because there aren’t hugs and kisses and the like doesn’t mean I feel any less about anyone — or they me. It’s just how we deal with things.

After Dad died, Tim was the leader of the family. Then he goes and now what? He left a wife and two kids — not to mention three siblings and a mom. We feel his loss every day — at least I do.

Forty by Forty? Because of Tim. My Dad was 65. Tim was 45. Average male age in my family now is 55. So I’ve got 16 years left? Um, no. Tim scared me. And I’m trying very hard to change some things because of him.

Tim’s not coming back. What’s good about that? Well,  nothing. But what it does is ensure that all the stories, memories and personal things we hold close to us are never going away. It’s how we, or at least I, keep him with me every day.

Happy Birthday, Tim.

You’ve read a lot about Tim here — but you haven’t read much — if anything — about Tom. And there’s no real reason for that. So, for the next few paragraphs, let me give you the chance to get to know Tom.

Tom checked into the world three minutes after Tim. And that bond they have, well, I’ll never understand that. That’s why I don’t know how he really feels today. And, you know, I could ask him. But, I don’t. The ‘twin thing’ is a private one in my mind.

If you think I’m funny (well, ok, most of you probably don’t, but if you do….), then you should know Tom. He’s the real comedian in the family. A very dry, subtle wit.

I probably got most of my music taste from Tom. He played in rock bands for a long time and I’ll never forget all the vinyl albums he had in his room. It’s from him that I first head Aerosmith, Ozzy, Judas Priest and so many more. I used to love listening to him practice his guitar. And I loved even more when I had a chance to see him play — which wasn’t alot because of my age.

I mean, who knows, what if he and his band made it? How cool would that have been. They did fairly well — and it was neat to know that the guitarist was my older brother. He went to music school, but dropped out — and we always tease him for that.

But, the bottom line is that he’s made a career for himself — without a college degree. And he’s done pretty well. Doing what? Computer stuff. And he’s self-taught. Heck, I can remember as close as about 10 or 12 years ago when he didn’t even know how to turn a computer on.

Now, purely self taught, he’s a hospital IT guy…and he’s my own personal tech support. It’s pretty impressive what he’s taught himself.

And the same with photography. He found a hobby that he loved and he made it into a little side business. Some of his work has been published and, again, all self taught. He takes amazing pictures.

I think Tommy probably thinks that he’s been ‘overlooked’ a little bit in our family. Tim was first born (even though they were twins) and Lynn is the only girl. And then there’s me. You don’t always hear a lot about Tom. But, that’s not a bad thing.

His influence on the family is strong. It always has been — and it always will be. I would say his best ‘work’ goes unnoticed by a lot of people. He makes us laugh. He’s raised great kids. He’s made himself into a professional. He’s done a ton for my Mom.

He shouldn’t have to worry about being anything other than what he is. Because in our family, it’s exactly what we need.

Happy Birthday, Tom.

3 Comments on “Birthdays, Part 2 — Family”

  1. JenBun says:

    Again, happy birthday to both…

    You always write so beautifully about your family. 🙂

  2. Carrie says:

    Affection is all relative (no pun intended). Love is what is important.

    As you remember Tim and write about Tom your words exude love. You are an amazing soul and are, quite obviously, part of an amazing family.

    Tim and your Dad live on here in your words and forever in your hearts. And I know they are smiling down on all of you.

    Happy Birthday Tim and Tom. Thank you Mike for again sharing with all of us.

  3. Sara says:

    A family so very lucky to have you in it…. a wonderful post Mike.

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