November 5th, 2010.
On Nov. 5th, my little brother Greg passed away.. just weeks shy of his 19th birthday. I miss him so terribly. He was a best friend and so very dear to me. He had such a big presence and energy about him that in spite of feeling his absence here so profoundly, it’s still strange to think that he’s really gone.
Today marks the winter solstice here. A new solar cycle. A time when we begin to tilt back towards the sun. I suppose it’s a good time to post this. There just aren’t adequate enough words to express how much i love him and how great he was. And though it’s difficult to write any of this (… it’s taken me this long to even try to), here is my feeble attempt at sharing just a few aspects of him that i’ll remember the most.
How I wish, how I wish you were here. - Pink Floyd
He was truly a remarkable man and had such beautiful blue eyes. I’ve felt and feel so proud and blessed to have had him as a brother. He had a sense of humor and quick wit like no other. Throughout the many conversations i’ve had with, and comments i’ve read by those who knew him, everyone has remarked on how much he made them smile and laugh. He had a knack for knowing the right thing to say or do to cheer you up and make you smile. He brought such joy to my life and to this home during his stay here over the past months.. i’m so glad i had that time with him. His character and deep generosity of spirit matched his tall stature. He was a big guy with a big heart who looked out for and stuck up for those in need. From my experience of knowing him, when it really counted he so often would put the needs and desires of others in front of his own. We knew for sure that he’d always have our backs no matter what. Without needing to be prompted and without expecting something in return , he’d go out of his way to try to make sure you were ok.. it was just part of his character and core make up. He also reveled in spoiling and doting on the ones he loved. One of the simple ways he’d express that was by making you something delicious.. and man, could he cook! Every prepared snack or meal he made for us had to have a little something extra or a secret ingredient or 2 to make it really special. He enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen not nearly as much as he enjoyed ‘smashing’ on some food / eating a lot. Meal time was happy time & cooking was an alchemy of sorts, we used to joke and say. We used to joke a lot. He would poke fun at me often, haha.- it seemed the closer you were to him the more he’d rip on and tease ya in jest. Didn’t matter what it was, he always had a funny, clever or shocking comment for just about anything at the ready. While growing up he liked anything to do with sharks, monster trucks and cars, going on ‘adventures’ with me or Ryan, & ‘army men stuff’. He loved fishing, going boating, driving(-anything- from cars to go carts to golfcarts to grocery store scooters :p), chill music, classic muscle cars and trucks, western maryland with its beautiful mountains, lakes and forests, the beach&ocean, cool weather,snow, late nights, sleeping in, shooter&racing games, watching movies, comedies, fun tv shows & ravens football, vacations holidays & gatherings, hanging with friends and family, going out and being silly and so many other things that i suppose are common, but he managed to make extraordinary by injecting his personality and perspective into the picture.
"And did you know that everything you touch is blessed and all the richer For your love a better being And if I display just a fraction of the soul you showed in this world Then I know I'll see you again" - Oceansize
Though no mortal man can reach perfection, Greg had a goodness of heart and spirit that feels rare. Though he could have held grudges against people or the world, i don’t think he ever did. He forgave others quickly, because (paraphrasing)- what really mattered (love and friendship) was bigger and more important than any passing disagreement, moment of tension, or negative past event. Though he liked to sometimes put on a show or talk big, deep down there was a quiet vulnerability in him. Our early lives weren’t always easy. He suffered hardships that no kid or teen anywhere should have to experience. I know these things weighed on him, and yet in spite of them he remained good willed, gentle, kind and loving. He was a great little brother, and a great big brother. He and our brother Ryan had such a special connection, they were like 2 peas in a pod. When we were little, the 2 of them were inseparable- always running around getting into mischief and having fun. Greg was really amazing in how he took care of his little bro and sis during harder times even though he was just a child himself. He helped me a lot too. It appears that everyone who got to really know him grew to care for him. He was a good man, and it didn’t take long for him to work his way into your heart. At it’s essence, he loved people deeply, and was loved and adored so much more than he could have imagined.
"I never needed any Reason for me to say Through all them troubled times Yes me love you any way And the roughest path You know the rocky rocky road You know that Life and love is a Heavy heavy load" - Slightly Stoopid
Last January, he was hospitalized in the ICU for months. He had a long and hard recovery to get back to routine life. It was a miracle he survived those times. And while he is physically gone now, i still must thank the universe for giving me the time to express to him how much he meant to me and for allowing him to stay with us all just a little while longer. God I wish it would have been much much longer.. but i am so very grateful to have spent so much of this past year with him at my side. From the moment he was born he was a continual source of inspiration and happiness for me. He truly taught me so much about life and love. I miss him so much. Not a waking hour has gone by without thinking of him. What i wouldn’t give to hear him crack a joke, or see him smile, or get one of his giant bear hugs…But to have the privilege to say i knew him, and to carry memories of him in my heart.. those are gifts that will last forever.
I wish i could write something better here and now that would do him justice.. he really was something special. He was my sunshine.