On January 16, 2008 my youngest brother Joel unexpectedly passed away. If accessibility in the web world means we have access to more information, then I guess it means we have access to more sadness because reading my baby brother’s obituary for myself has been part of the most profoundly sad experience of my life.
These words were read at Joel’s funeral and I share them here knowing that Joel is and always will be with us in spirit.
Days and nights of our youth were filled with endless hours of play. In summer baseball, swimming, camping in the backyard and countless adventures to the store where fifty cents made us feel like millionaires. Spring and fall were witness to the weather’s change but the love of two boys growing and learning together remained the same. Football, Halloween candy hunts, roof top jumping to the leaves piled so high. Never mind that dad said to stop, it was an adventure that was waiting to be experienced.
In Your teenage years I marveled at your basketball prowess. So many championships, so much success for you.
As we grew our adventures changed. How exciting as two young people to have some pocket change and experience together the excitement of video games. Like all you put your mind to in life, you were never content to just play the newest game. You climbed the mountain and conquered each opportunity that was put before you.
My first job. My first bicycle. Bent handle bars, body over the hood of a car. How much more memorable the experience when you didn’t let me know about that parked car. The humor and laughter ring true even today. How much more memorable the experience than just two boys out for a bike ride. As the officials of your beloved basketball would say ,”no harm no foul.”
Like the two roads in Frost’s The Road less Travelled, our paths diverged at times. What a joy to have them connect again in Portland, The Rose City. You then a father and how wonderful to see the pride and joy you took in building a world for your angelic Jessica.
As adults it was back to the games of our youth. Baseball and cookouts in the backyard, adventures to Seattle to watch the Mariners. The joy of rediscovery of the brother of my youth.
Scientists tell us that in the universe for every action there’s an equal an opposite reaction. Some of that “book learning” of mine, I know. My heart hurts so much but I know it is only because the equal and opposite reaction is the joy you brought to so many in this world.
I love you my brother. I love the strength of conviction you showed in all you did. Your beliefs were those of your own and you stood strong for what you believed was right.
Father, brother, son, friend. Four words I know but these say so much and you lived up to all of them. You were and always will be Joel, a father to Jessica, a brother to myself and many others and a friend to so many more and most importantly a son to mom and dad.
Some brotherly advice too my dear Joel. Heaven’s your new home but please give God a break before you start telling him how to run the joint. I know you can do it better so go easy on the guy.
I love you my brother. Rest in peace.