Today he's been gone for four years.
How do I describe my brother? Long and lanky. Deep brown eyes and curly dark hair which turned gray fairly early. Sensitive and thoughtful. Caring. Witty. Determined. Philosopher. Writer.
Although he was plagued by rheumatoid arthrits for nearly 40 years, he didn't complain. His body was stiff, his joints were 'frozen' and some were swollen. He hobbled when he walked with careful steps. He didn't care to fall. As lame as his body was, as painful as it must have been for him at times, he wouldn't give up. He still stood, as tall as his body would allow. He rested when he needed to, but he worked in his yard and on his hobby car and on his truck when his ailment would allow. He used his computer...one key at a time. The doctors were in awe of him, believing that he 'should' have been in a wheel chair long years before. He never was.
Those dark brown eyes were soft and warm, and when you looked into them, you often saw the playfulness in them. Sometimes it was sadness you might see, for the compassion within him was great. Always, behind those eyes, were deep thoughts....sometimes shared, and sometimes kept hidden.
As children, we shared jokes and laughter and silliness. As adults we shared a close relationship, revealing things to each other that others were never privy to. We encouraged one another. We were more than siblings, we were friends.
Today as I remember Tom, so many thoughts swirl. I think of his fatherhood, of his raising two sons, alone, after he gained full custody of them. He kept his home 'all male' as he raised them, not wanting to involve himself in relationships that would cause his attentions to drift from his boys. He also was protecting himself from the hurt that relationships had brought him in his earlier years. Later, after his sons had grown, he wondered if he'd done the right thing by keeping himself free of females, as he felt that his boys hadn't had the opportunity to learn from his example, how to treat women.
Whatever his regrets or feelings might have been, he made one right decision for certain. His deep faith in God caused him to live the best way he could, and with a strength that was misunderstood by some. Now I know that although I miss him dreadfully, that he stands in that strength in a renewed body, in a new land, with his God. How could I ever wish him back, just to soothe my selfish heart which is lonely for his company?
I couldn't...I wouldn't....for he lives in health and in peace and I know I'll see him again when the Lord takes me Home. 'Til then, Tom. Love you...