My brother died 10 years ago on this October 12th holiday weekend. The trees on that day had more color than in this photo I took yesterday of a home near the center of my town. (I changed the name of course)
As I remember it, there was more color and definitely more wind as it swirled the yellow, orange, and red leaves furiously by his window. I sat on the floor of his bedroom while he slept watching those leaves, listening to their light touch brushing up against the windows in his corner room.
I talked softy–when he would open his eyes–of things and people he loved. The house at Buzzards Bay that I had closed up for the winter the day before. His children: Alice who had just arrived from Washington, DC, his sons, John, Robert, Timmy, his wife, Nancy and of his Notre Dame football team and his life long friends, Dave, Charlie, Jim, who had gathered in South Bend the previous weekend for the annual football game reunion. This was the first time they were there without him. I told him that Jim had called me from the seedy, noisy bar they always met in, “The Linebacker”. They sounded, I told him, as he might expect they would: not entirely sober. He smiled.
I went home that night and wrote his eulogy and he died early that next morning.
The rest is the rest and although I have written about this day before in an earlier post, I wanted to mark this day, in this 10th year since he died, in a week of other kinds of losses, with as gentle an image as the curve of that final smile and as light a sound as those falling leaves brushing up against his window.
©Pat Coakley 2008
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