May 30, 2006
One year ago today. That was the last time I saw my youngest brother, Josh. I thought about him a lot today. I think of him everyday, but much more today. I had flown home to Maryland for a few days to visit my family & friends. Josh was in Ocean City until the night before I went back to Cali, so I didn't get to spend much time with him. He came home to my parents house & shared with me that the previous night he sat up, alone, & drank 17 beers. Seventeen? By yourself? My heart broke for him. I can't imagine what it must feel like to live with a disease like Ewing Sarcoma, knowing that my days are numbered. He was diagnosed in May of 2005. Sometimes I think about how I would live if I knew I was going to die soon. I believe I would be one to do everything in my power to keep myself as healthy as possible in order to maximize my time here. Josh fell in the other catagory. You know, the your-days-are-numbered-enjoy-it-while-you-can catagory.
He always kept to himself. Our family was tight-knit, but no one was close to Josh. He wasn't home much - usually across the street at the Lutman's house. If he was home, he was in his bedroom playing World of Warcraft, or some other computer game. Quite the hermit, really.
Anyway, so the following day, May 30th, I was due at BWI mid-afternoon. My whole family - mom, dad, my sister & her family, all 3 of my brothers & their significant others - went to lunch at Red Robin in Columbia. We didn't know it at the time, but it was our final family meal together. The Last Lunch, if you will. We did the usual - talk, laugh, belch, fart. Good times. I didn't think about this at the time, but looking back, I remember no one bickered or yelled, which was not the usual. (Hey, bickering & yelling comes with the territory of having a large family. It's utter chaos.) On our way out, we stopped & chatted for a few more minutes & I turned to Josh & said, "I love you. See you in December," & gave him a big hug & a kiss on the cheek. He replied, "I love you too," & hugged me even bigger. (He was a massive guy - bigger hugs are his normal hugs.) Then we parted ways. Me on my way back to Cali, preparing for the newest addition to my family who was due to arrive 10 weeks later. Josh on his way back home to my parents house, to finish what would be the last 6 months of his too short life.
Well, I did see Josh in December. Just like I told him I would. Only, we weren't at Disney World as we had planned. Instead, I was gazing down on his empty shell of a body, asking God, "Why?" I would like to dedicate a separate blog, detailing the emotional roller coaster my family & I rode when Josh went Home, so you will have to read about that another time.
Joshy, I love you & miss you so very much, baby brother. I look forward to our next reunion. A reunion in which we will never have to agonize over possible separation again. A reunion of the eternal kind. Until then...