I Didn’t Know How to Be (by Rebecca)

I’m sorry I haven’t been here. I didn’t know how to be. I didn’t know how to be anything other than numb, hollow, and completely and utterly bereft. Thank you for the kindness from those of you who knew and reached out. Even if I didn’t know how to respond, I appreciated being in your thoughts. If you didn’t know him, all you really need to know to understand him is that, on his final day, his only concern was for his wife. He was laying there in his hospital bed, tubes and wires surrounding him, and he’d ask so, how are you? It would have been funny if it wasn’t so incredibly unfunny, but that’s just how he was. He was polite and kind and caring. To everyone. He fought so hard and was so brave. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t try or do to get back to his life and his extraordinary wife. No matter how it made him feel, he would have done anything. And his wife fought harder than anyone I’ve ever seen fight against anything. Through a pandemic. Through sorrow and frustration and exhaustion. Through one complication after another. Day after day. They “loved with a love that was more than love” is the refrain that keeps going through my mind when I think about them both. I love how they loved each other. I love knowing that he lived the entirety of his life being adored. He was the greatest friend, brother, human anyone could have known. No, there isn’t anything that is ever going to make it better. But all I really wanted to say here is let this be a reminder to you to take more pictures (even when you don’t think you look your best), call more often (texting really isn’t the same), leave voice mail messages, write letters, post-it notes, drawings, whatever it is that you can offer to your loved ones and make more time for those who matter to you. Tell them you love them. Show them you love them. Over and over again until they believe you. And, if you’re able, donate blood, donate platelets, donate plasma. He got more time with us because strangers took time out of their lives to make a difference in his. I will be forever grateful for that. His name was James, but I certainly never called him that. To me, he was my baby brother Koobie, and he always will be. He’ll be Saturday morning cartoons with sugar-coated cereal, Sunday afternoons creating a lego wonderland, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off. He’ll be long car rides filled with are we there yet and I’m not touching you and the warm sunshine that follows a long night spent curled up in a rain-soaked sleeping bag. He’ll be #45 on the football field, and the best clarinet player in the band. He’ll be the first of us to have graduated college. He’ll be the one in the tux playing a classical piece of music with his whole heart. He’ll be the one beaming as he dances with his wife for the first time. And he’ll be the one who brought us together again to remind us what really matters in this life. I will love and miss you every single day for the rest of my life, Koob and I’ll do my best to carry the light you brought to all of us.

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