My brother Greg
This is about Greg. As you may have read, I bought my 1991 VW Syncro the day he passed away of a massive heart attack. The first trip after driving it home from the dealer was to the airport to fly to Kansas City for his funeral service. And the second trip after coming home was to the Pacific Ocean at Westport to put flowers from the service in the ocean in his memory. He always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean and never did.
Greg was born in November 1943, about eight months after our parents were married. You can do the math, and remember it was 1943 when my Dad, a young U.S. Army officer, and my Mom, the daughter of a prominent Boise, Idaho leader (Grandad was the Postmaster) were dating. To his dying days, Dad would not admit the circumstances of their sudden marriage, and Mom would just shrug and say it was the times. Greg became the prodigal son.
He was an exceptional person, extremely intelligent but as intelligence goes, extremely fragile in other areas. They put a lot of expectations on him and he worked hard to excel and meet their goals and dreams. But in the process he became an alcoholic, and besides smoking 1-2 packs of cigarettes a day, destroyed his health into an early death. At the age of 42 he had angioplasty on his heart, had he lungs pumped of fluids a few years later, and told he would likely need a heart-lung replacement before 50.
I only knew him as a brother, and knew his kids before they all became teenagers, so much of his life was long distance talks and incidental family reunions. He was almost 6 years older than me so we didn't do much together, except he always found time to be a friend when it was needed. He somehow knew as I was small for my age, and he was larger for his, I need the help. It was only much later I learned from Dad, they put my upbringing on him.
Once we ventured into our careers, him into accounting - he had a bad eye which kept him out of the draft, and I into the Air Force, graduate school, and the USGS, we only talked a few times a year. It was at the family reunions we had time to talk at length about life, and sadly I couldn't convince him about the choices he had. He kept to our parents script of his life, eventually becoming the CEO of a national theater chain for a year before being replaced when the company changed hands.
And so every August 21st I celebrate him. A day to just wander and remember our lives, and the choices we make in the face of events and stuff. He made his, and sadly the world lost someone with tremendous potential had he chosen. He had a moment to change everything once while living in western Colorado, and chose not to follow freedom and opportunity for following parental promise.
And I? While we realized we were so similar we lead opposite lives. Where he made his choices around our parents and his family, I chose to go out into the world after Dad decided I should leave, or as the story goes, a long story about a quick decision. We were so opposite we met on the other side of the world to find we wished we had known each other more.
|[Top] [Columns] [Home]|