So, yeah. June 16th. It pretty much sucks.
And it always will because it’s the anniversary of my brother Tim’s passing.
Think it gets easier with time? Um, not so much. Harder, actually.
Honestly, am just actually starting to accept Dad’s passing — and that was almost 10 years ago. Yeah, this is two years for Tim.
I know a lot of you have read the posts in my archives. Thank you for that. Means a lot. Really does.
And, if you’re a fairly regular reader here, you know I usually mark these certain anniversaries with either a letter or a post dedicated with my words.
Not this time.
I just don’t have the words right now. I tried. Have sat in front of the computer for a couple of hours, thinking the vibe will come at some point and then I can just bang out the tribute post and away I’ll go.
Again with the not so much.
Then something did strike me. I didn’t need to use my words. Nope. I can use the words other people used to express their feelings to us at the time of Tim’s passing.
Who knew the online obit had such value. But it did. People could leave comments and thoughts. Many did. So I captured them. A dear blogging friend created a great book for me and my family and now we each have a memory book, so to speak, with a copy of Tim’s obit, the eulogies my brother, nephew and I gave and then the comments from friends and family.
So, because I’ve really got nothin’ right now, here is a sampling of what some said about Tim.
“It was an honor to work with such a noble and passionate man.”
“I was very sad to learn about Tim. He taught me a lot and we had a lot of fun travelling together.”
“I can only begin to tell you how much I respected and cared for Tim. He will be missed and a void will always remain with me.”
“We have all been blessed to have shared a part of his short life. He has left us, but he will not be forgotten.”
“I think what I admired most was his outstanding moral and ethical beliefs and the love and pride he had for his family.”
“Tim was a phenomenal leader and a great friend. I looked up to Tim and had nothing but respect for him.”
“I’ve known Tim for more than 20 years. He was highly respected by all that knew him for his professional expertise and leadership skills. More importantly, he was highly regarded as a kind and caring human being.”
“He was a good friend and a great man. His passing will leave a large void in many lives.”
“The industry lost a giant, the plant lost a leader and your family lost a great dad and loving husband.”
“The phones here have been ringing off the hook about Tim. He touched a lot of lives and was respected by all for who he was.”
“It has been an honor and privilege to work for Tim over the years. He treated me as a co-worker, not as someone under him. For that, I have the utmost respect for who he was and what he taught me. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to work for and learn from him.”
“For me, working for Tim has been the best in my career. It is a rare occasion that one finds a person of Tim’s magnitude in this day and age. Yes, Tim had his own family, but he left one at work as well.”
“Very few have truly earned the respect that Tim did in such a short time on earth. Even in difficult times, Tim had a way of making things look simple and easy.”
“Please be proud to know that Tim left a piece of him with each of us who worked, befriended or walked alongside him.”
“Be comforted knowing how respected, appreciated and well-liked he was by his peers.”
“He always seemed to have time to talk bikes with me at work. Shhh, don’t tell anyone! He was a great guy and a great rider.”
“Tim was the most respectable man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He knew how to make you smile when things weren’t going well.”
People say I’m good with words. And, you know, for the most part, I agree. But, in this case, I can’t really compete with what these people said about my brother.
So, you know what? I won’t.
Here’s Aidan on the first day of school.
Here’s Aidan on the last day of school.
Think he’s growing? This place did wonders for him.
Kindergarten (gulp!) here he comes.
It’s hard to believe you are two years old today. Sometimes you seem so grown up! I know that’s happening every day. And I know I can’t stop it (as often as I wish that I sometimes could).
But, the fact is, no matter how fast you do grow up, you will always be Daddy’s little girl. Always. Even the day — especially the day — when I get to walk you down the aisle on your wedding day. Yes, Erin, I do think about that. About ‘giving you away’…which is hard to think of already. Especially a girl who has given me so much — in just two years.
Your eyes, Erin, continue to captivate me each and every time I look at you. Your voice and your growing vocabulary impress me so much. You communicate so well. So easily.
Your sense of adventure. No fear. I’m so admirable and envious of your spirit. Your laughter — contagious — or at least it should be. Everything about you, Erin, speaks of joy. Because that is what you bring to all who love you.
Sure, you’ve grown a little more toddler like with your new bedtime behavior, but, overall, you are an angel. A sweet little angel.
And, Erin, while this day is always about you and always your day alone. Please know, too, what gift you bring me — every day.
Each time I look at you, Erin, your uncle Tim is there. You were such a gift at such a horrible time. A time, quite honestly, I still struggle with a lot (more than people think — at least until now). So on a day that should be totally yours, I thank you for sharing it with the uncle you’ve never met. There will be enough sorrow to share in the next few days about that. But on this day, your day, you share in all the good of not just yourself, but your uncle, too.
And for that, Erin, I thank you.
I do get frustrated, Erin. And I apologize for that. I try and do the best I can every day. Some days are much harder for me — and that’s my own patience level I have to deal with. But just please know that Daddy loves you so much, and you truly bring joy every single day.
Happy Birthday, Erin.
No excuses for not being here. Life has been beyond words crazy. More work than ever. More stress than ever. Just, well, more of everything.
And, had I known Molly was going to post about my kids (she’s watching them for a few days), then I would have had something fresh here for the 300 of you that popped in for a visit. I only hope you’ll come back from time to time.
And, it’s interesting, this wordpress thing. Because I know a lot of what you looked at. And quite a bit of it was about my brother’s death and all that I went through at that time — especially since it was timed horribly with my daughter’s birth — nearly two years ago.
And, it’s somewhat ironic that that topic is what is bringing me here tonight. So after reading Aidan a story, we went through prayers. We did all the usual, and then it went like this:
“And God bless Great Mimi O, Papa O and Uncle Tim — especially this time of year.”
“Why specially Dad?”
“Because the day Uncle Tim died is coming up very soon — just like Erin’s birthday. In fact, bud, it was the day after Erin was born that Uncle Tim got sick. And one of the reasons it always makes me sad is that Erin and Uncle Tim never got to meet. Do you remember Uncle Tim?”
“A little. He’s in one of the pictures from my party.”
“Yup, he sure is. And pictures are how we keep memories alive.”
“Well when will Erin get to meet Uncle Tim?”
I actually had to collect myself a bit before I could muster this…you know, not only talking about the death of my brother, but also now the death of my daughter.
“Well, bud, one day, that will happen. When Erin goes to heaven, she’ll get to meet Uncle Tim and Papa O. And that’s when we’ll all be together again. But that’s going to be a long time from now.”
By the time we were here, he had moved down to the floor where his train table was.
“You want to drive the train and I’ll drive the cherry picker. And then if I want, we can switch.”
“I’d love to.”