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Posts Tagged ‘AIDS sucks’

August 23, 1995

Or maybe the title should be “I wish you never left.” Or “18 years.” Or simply “I miss my brother.”

On August 23, 1995, I was sitting in the waiting area at the car dealer, having my car tuned up etc- getting ready for the long trip east I knew was coming soon. I was living in Lynnwood, WA at the time- and I loved it there. As I was killing time in the waiting room, I just knew there would be a message on the answering machine when I got home. And I knew what it would say. Sure enough, it was my father, telling me (in a shaky voice) to call him. Eric had died. It wasn’t unexpected. AIDS was most definitely a killer then. But still- expected or not, when your big brother dies, a little of you does, too. I called in to work- no big deal- they knew this was coming, too. I lit candles, then sat in the middle of the floor and cried. And cried. And cried.

That memory is crystal clear. But there are many, many good memories that are just as clear. This year, especially, my sister and I have been thinking of when Eric left for William and Mary to begin college. Williamsburg and Culpeper are about 4 hours apart- but then, when you are 13 and 11 it seems like forever. It’s been on our mind because my nephew is leaving for college, and his little sisters are left behind. They are 6- time and distance are harder to comprehend- they just know that their brother won’t be home. They’ll learn that his going away to college is not a bad thing. When he comes home, he will have so much to tell him- the holidays will be even happier. They’ll get to go visit him and see so many new things. I wish I could get through to all of our kids just how wonderful all of the things their older siblings will show and teach them can be.

That’s what I’m remembering this year. Things that I saw, experienced, learned- that I might not have if it weren’t for Eric.

What I’m wishing for and missing- pretty much the same as every year. I’ve remarried, and I really wish that Eric and James could have met. I know they would have liked each other. I wish the kids could have known him, and that he could have known them. I wish my parents hadn’t had to have a child die. I wish Manda and I still had our big brother here.

I ask you this every year- kiss or hug your brothers/sisters. And if you absolutely have to call them names, please do it with love.

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17 years since my brother died. since AIDS took him. 18 and a half years since AIDS took his partner, Jeff. and around 18 years since Eric found Randal- who saw it through til the end. 17 years since a devoted pit bull named Justice laid down on Eric’s legs while he was sleeping, and stayed there beyond Eric’s last breath. (Eric and Randal got him from a shelter, and named him Justice “cuz there ain’t no Justice”)

17 years. a long time. yet just a few days ago. my mother said that when i talked to her earlier. and i guess that’s how it should be. how i want it to be. it has been a long time, but i want it to feel like just a few days ago. to never forget. i never will. it may sound dramatic, but truly, there is not a day that goes by where he does not cross my mind. but i don’t really know what to say today. it’s going to be a really hectic month here at Puff the Magic Rabbit, and i’m stressed to the point of wanting to shut down. i almost would have liked for today to go by without my remembering the significance of it. but the day is here, and it’s one of the days in my life that marks the passing of time.

if i was speaking to him today, what would he say and what would i say? i think what i am missing the most right now is the positive influence he would be in my daughter’s life. my 14 year old, brave, strong, sensitive girl is quite openly a lesbian- and i think that having Eric around might help her with some of the issues she will face- issues he faced many years ago. i’d like to talk to him about those issues then- i was really too young to help at the time, but i’d like to know what he faced through my older eyes. offer whatever i could even though it’s way too late.

so i try to strike a balance between wanting all the things we all missed out on, regretting all that i was not able to be while he was still here, and knowing that really what we had is just what we had. there will always be missing, and wishing, and regretting, and imagining.

this is where it is at 17 years.

same request as always- tell your siblings you love them, and if you must pick on them or call them names- do it with as much love and kindness as you can.

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I’ve said it all before, or have I? And you know, it’s not like the actual DAY makes any difference. My brother is gone, he was gone yesterday when it was 15 years and 364 days, he’s gone today at exactly 16 years, and he will be gone tomorrow at 16 years and one day. So what if i took a year off from writing on his death-day? Why does it have to be exactly today. But here it is, today. And here I am, writing about it. Somehow, I can’t not.

Eric made a cameo in one of my crazy dreams last night- the dreams were all over the place- but for a moment he was there and healthy- even as the goat shearer was trying his hardest to convince me Eric did not have AIDS and did not die. And I do often have dreams where he was able to keep AIDS at bay, and live with it. Then there are the twisted up dreams where even though I know he is gone, I am still at the train station putting him back on a train to Boston.

It never changes- I always want him back. All the reasons I want him back are all the reasons I’ve wanted him back for the past 16 years. Sometimes one reason is more prominent than all the others- they shuffle, rearrange themselves- some days it is the wish that the 6 beautiful children that would call him Uncle Eric could know him- and that he could know them- I know they’ve missed a wonderful uncle- but he ended up missing some pretty fantastic kids, too. Sometimes it’s wanting to have a good snark session over our aging parents (I am soooo going to be in trouble if Mom figures out how to work her computer…). I’d like to hear the endless ribbing I would get over my farm (he, like my mother, would swear I was switched at birth). I’d like to be a bratty little sister again. I’d like to be a younger sister that he could show all the important stuff in Boston to. I’d like to go to him when I’m unsure of life and some of the changes that have happened this year- hard, scary changes, and wonderful changes I’m afraid to trust. I’d like him to be able to come to me to see if I can give him another perspective. I would love for my sister and parents to not have to miss him anymore. I wish, I would love, I would give teeth for…

If you’re new here, you can go here and here and here but most of you know all of that. Which means, you know what I’m asking- be nice to your brother or sister, or if you HAVE to call them a dweeb or pull their hair, do it gently.

Eric, I love you and miss you. Manda, I love you.

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Fifteen years my older brother Eric has no longer been with us. What do I say this year that I didn’t say last year or the year before that? I had said last year that some years (days, moments) seem to be harder than others. While talking to my mother last night, we had talked about today being “it” and at that time, it was completely manageable. This morning, it was the same routine- get up, get the kids to the busstop and on the bus, come home, read some e-mail while the coffee was steeping, and start the day. Read while drinking my coffee. And while I was doing that, I looked up, looked around- and today just kind of crashed down on me. This is going to be one of those harder years.

I know there is someplace else, and I know that it’s good. I had a dream shortly after he died, and in it he was explaining what his heaven was like. I absorbed that, and it became my belief. I remembered the setting of the dream, but eventually, the message just became a part of me. Awhile back, one of my best friends lost her father. We were discussing the afterlife, and I told her my view, and she reminded me of that dream- and that that was the message my brother gave me. Even now, he pops into dreams- nothing profound, just kind of day to day stuff. I believe he’s just letting me know things are okay where he is.

So I guess the hard part isn’t worrying about him- though knowing he died so young is just wrong- he was 34. Most of the hard part is just selfish- it’s my loss, my grief, my wanting my brother here. In my mind, when someone dies, a light goes out somewhere. This particular light was located right down the hall- it was the door on the right.

On the brighter side, the wonderful man who was with him at the end, Randal, has found Manda and me on Facebook. He seems happy and well- so our wishes came true there.

You know the deal by now. If you have brothers or sisters, please try to be nice to them today. And if you have to call them names or pull their hair- be just a little more gentle about it than usual.

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Eric and Jeff

Eric and Jeff

I think that will always be my favorite picture of them. Last year I told you about AIDS taking my brother Eric, and his partner Jeff.

For some reason today is harder this year than last. I guess mourning someone is like that. It comes and goes- never forgotten, just sometimes harder.

In this past year some friends of his from high school have contacted Manda and me through Facebook, and we all got together in June when they were in town. Just this past month, another of his friends from jr. high has found us, and I’ve updated him on Eric’s life since. Friends everywhere are remembering him today, and I know somewhere Randall (he was his partner at the end) is remembering- so if you guys could help me send some peace Randall’s way…

Maybe I need him more today than I did this day last year. I’ve got some pretty big changes coming up, and I could use the comfort of having a big brother tell me it will all be okay. (cuz whenever he said that, somehow it was all okay). It seems like its been a lifetime- and it has. My daughter’s lifetime, my sons’ lifetimes, my nieces’ lifetimes, and almost my step-nephew’s lifetime- give or take a few months. Yet it could just be yesterday. My sister, parents, and I all tell stories to the kids, make sure we talk about him frequently, there are pictures up- we do everything we can. I know in some sense that he is here- watching over us (he probably kept that deer from coming through my windshield cuz he wasn’t ready to have his bratty little sister around being a pest yet 😉 ) and maybe even guiding us in ways we don’t know- and that’s good. But he’s not HERE and dammit, I want him HERE. I want my kids (and Manda’s) to know him, not know of him. I want to know him now- what he’d be working on, where he’d be living (still in Boston, I’m sure), I want to see him be an uncle to our kids, I want his advice and guidance, I want to be able to listen to him if he needs advice or guidance. I don’t want to be the oldest anymore, I want to be the middle kid again. Manda and I don’t want to be just “the girls” we want to be “Eric and the girls.”

Too many “I wants” to list them all. And every single day of every single year, someone else somewhere else feels all of these feelings. And that’s life. And it goes on. And I’m glad to feel everything that I feel- not because my brother is dead, but because I had my brother.

Like I asked you last year, be nice to your brothers and sisters today- and if you have to call them names, please do it with a smile in your voice. Thanks for letting me vent a bit. AIDS sucks.

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This is sooo early for me. My dad will be here in a bit to pick me up to take me to the train station. I switch trains in New York, then should be in Boston with Miss Mad for Knit around 8 tonight. The AIDS Walk is Sunday morning. I know this will be good, and I shouldn’t be sad, or look at it as being in Boston without my brother being there, because in a way, he will be. And I am looking forward to this, but I am sad, too. Even though he is present somewhere, and probably keeping an eye on my sister and me, he’s not here where we can talk to him- and have him talk back. (stupid AIDS).

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, and for all of the good wishes I know you’ll be sending me- you guys are fantastic! (oh, and there will be a raffle, I have handspun yarn from Ducky, Carol will be donating a signed book, I’ll have handspun and roving, and Miss Mad for Knit has a quilt for the really high donors (over 100). So if you want to get in on this, the “donated” link above will take you there, and I will do the raffle in mid-June.)

My internet is back- woohoo! Thanks, Carol, for stepping in while it was out, and for giving everyone real, concrete reasons for why goats are so wonderful- beyond all my mushy “I love my goats” stuff.

Fluff loves me

Fluff loves me

Have a great weekend!

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I think the time has come for me to own up to the fact that I’m as scattered as they come. If I could somehow pull it all together, maybe I’d spend less time looking for the stuff I need to do, and more time doing it. Also, my couch/office was starting to overflow. So, I took everything off of there, and started a bit of sorting- nothing major, just 2 shopping bags and the stuff that I felt needed to go back on there.

office renovations

office renovations

The thought being, I would sit and work on the left, a few projects could hang out in the middle, and some books and stuff that I use all the time could share space with a cat or 2 on the left. Sofar, it hasn’t worked. Sigh. Will try again this weekend.

I also thought, if I could fill a calendar with what I need to do, and write down important to do’s, I could keep my projects moving along. Enter: the white board calendar:

in hopes of keeping it all in order

in hopes of keeping it all in order

I think the idea here will be to assign projects different days to work on (sweater 1, Mondays and Wednesdays; sock 3 has Mondays and Thursdays; baby hats on Tuesdays, carding on Fridays, etc) and I can order them based on when they’re due. And finally, to keep stuff I need to do on the computer in order:

whimsical organization

whimsical organization

Here, I will keep lists like: email so and so about fleece, pay bills, invoice this person, email thank you’s, etc. I told the kids if any of my pens disappeared they would be beyond in trouble- that this was all mommy’s work stuff. So, some fun drawings have popped up- and that’s ok as long as nothing of mine gets erased. So, here’s hoping…

How do you guys do it? Please tell me your organizational and productive tips.

Thank you all for linking back to the AIDS Walk on your blogs- you guys are so supportive, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. It’s getting closer…

There’s been a bit of sadness this week. Tuesday one of our little hamsters, Comet, died. She wasn’t very old (not quite a year). Also, my very old cat, Squeak, was just getting older- and starting to fail. On Thursday morning my neighbor who is a small animal vet came over, and while I held her in the sunshine, we put her to sleep. It’s always a hard decision to make, even when you know its right. I do have to tell you this- being able to do it here instead of putting her through the stress of a car ride and vet visit was priceless- I’m very grateful to my neighbor for saving her that stress. So now, no ancient cat is stumbling across my keyboard making odd words, no ancient cat is missing the litter box. She’s not wanting to go in and out 50 times a day just to watch me open the door. I don’t care- I miss her. Safe journeys, Comet and Squeaky-Black-Bear.

I bet you’d like to see some goaties. As always, you’ve come to the right place.

She's all legs and ears

She's all legs and ears

There is Baby Enigma- her legs and ears are growing quickly.  It doesn’t matter how many pictures I take of her, I usually only get about 2 that aren’t blurred from her constant motion. She has springs in her hooves. She does love to sit in your lap and be petted- she’s a little puppy-goat.

I bet this watch tastes good!

I bet this watch tastes good!

And here are Evan and Renesmee doing what they do best- being cute! (and growing mohair- would you look at it all!)

Renesmee and Evan

Renesmee and Evan

Happy weekend, everyone!

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