My brother Ron was laid to rest today. He passed away a couple weeks ago. It has thankfully been busy to keep my mind occupied. My bones have hurt, head, joints, I haven’t been able to think proper. Last night I wrote his eulogy. Not really a eulogy but a few stories. It wasn’t hard to come up with stories as we shared plenty of times together. My Sister Wynanne spoke wonderfully and said so much, things I wanted to say. Our Sister Deb with Kurt sang a beautiful rendition of Go Rest High On The Mountain.
Ron was eight years older than me and kept me from plenty. Times were not easy when we grew up. The truth is they were harder for him than I. Plenty was expected from him. That goes with the territory when your father gives you his name.
We fit in some good times and I learned a lot from Ron. I was always welcome to go through his records and magazines. They were a treasure trove of information for the young me. I swear I learned to read reading Penthouse Forum.
When I was sixteen he took me down to Montana where we went from one down and out bar to another. We were always one step away from getting into fights. It was probably the size of his arms, the jagged scar across his chin and his gregarious nature that kept us out of them.
One of those nights, at a topless bar, we stayed until closing. We found ourselves on the street at 3am with nowhere to go. Another patron with the same problem as us started in on me verbally. Of course he was older and bigger. Ron thought it was funny. The guy said he’d just been released from prison and I didn’t doubt it. I figured I’d get in the first shot and I’d make it a good one. While the guy blabbed on trying to rile me, I reached into my pocket and arranged the coins into my closed fist into a column. The guy didn’t see me but Ron did. Ron stepped in and put the run on the guy without lifting a finger. The guy was never a threat, I just didn’t see it. Ron said he wasn’t worried about me, he just didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in jail. He also said, if you are smart you don’t have to fight. That advice probably came at the right time in my life.
When you are born in 1956 you could go on to be a modern man or you could live a life similar to your Father and Grandfather. Men who’s only way was to push feelings down. I think Ron did this and like his father and grandfather it caught up with him. Some people inherit feelings. I believe Ron inherited his Grandfather and Father’s horror of war and their mental anguish.
About ten years ago Ron with the help of his wife Leslie, who has always been by his side, quit drinking. I never asked, but I suspect he had to lay some of those inherited demons to rest. His Grandfather and Father would have been proud.
When Ron was diagnosed with cancer he faced it with determination, grace and never felt sorry for himself. He always said, he should have been dead long ago from liver or lung cancer, the rare form of blood cancer he caught seemed like a joke to him.
The past two weeks since Ron has passed many people have expressed their condolences to me. Some have said how unfair his death has been, because he was able to put away the alcohol, perhaps a longer life should have been promised. I don’t think Ron felt his cancer was unfair. I don’t think he thought fairness had anything to do with it. He told me, it is hard to feel sorry for yourself when he saw people much younger, in the clinics and hospitals, facing their own battles with cancer.
I’ve spent a lifetime learning from my brother. I’ve followed him around all these years and am going to miss him paving the way.