December 17th, 2002



I have a gift for Matt I never gave to him. I visited the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York in 1997. One thing Matt and I shared is a love of baseball. His favorite player was Kenn Griffey Jr. I picked up a jersey from the Mariners with Griffey's number last year. The Mariner's stitched Bender on it. We buried him in that jersey. He collected baseball cards. So at the Hall of Fame I picked up a set of metallic souvenir cards. Not the same as real baseball cards, though. I gave him something else I picked up there, but waited to give him this. But I never did. So I was cleaning before pie night and found them. Gonna take them to his grave this weekend.

I don't remember if I posted this already, but Aubree posted her last memories of her mother, and it got me thinking to last year.

Matt had epilepsy. In fact, they had to rule it out as a cause of his accident. He wasn't able to get a driver's license for years because of it. So last year he finally had gone long enough without a seizure to get his license. And he had saved up enough money to be able to buy a truck. He drove Dan up here for Christmas last year. They got up to Seattle on Saturday the 22nd. Matt dropped Dan off at my place. We hung out there for a few hours. Matt had the same sunglasses as me. He wanted to show me his truck, but since it was dark out already, I told him I would see it on Christmas. I did get to see what was left of it the day after Christmas. Matt always hugged to hard. You always knew a Matt hug. He worked as a roofer for years. And then installing HVAC units. Hard work. He was tall, lanky, and well muscled. I told him I was working out. He bragged that he didn't have to work out. When he hugged you it was like getting squeezed by pillows with rebar in them. And he left to stay with friends. And I never saw him alive again.

I've been doing pretty good with this so far. Moments where I break down. Haven't since mid-November. But it felt like it was building up. I knew I wasn't going to make it through January without it. So here I am at work. I have to get some work done. I have to manage people. I have to answer questions about how to do their self-reviews. And I am all teary-eyed and red-faced and sniffly. I have a glass door and partially glass wall, so I can't just shut everyone out and have a few minutes to myself. I want to just take 3 weeks off and stay home crying. At least right now. I'll probably be together again in a half hour. But only for a while.

Yes, I have people to lean on. A few other people have offered. This evening could be when I take advantage of that.


Role model

Those of you reading this who are parents might already have this. I don't. Never having fathered anyone, I don't have a built in base who could look up to me as a role model. Not that being a father means you are a good role model. But that is part of the job. Outside of that, one has to look for such opportunities. Or they may occasionally fall into your lap.

I have three brothers, all of whom are younger: Dan, Matt, and Joe. I have one sister: Elaine. I get along great with all of them. But Matt, Matt looked up to me. We didn't spend much time together because we lived in different states for much of the last 15 years. But his eyes lit up when he saw me. And from what the rest of my family tells me, he admired me.

I am not saving the world really. I am not a social worker, Peace Corp volunteer, teacher, inventor, or astronaut. I am not doing great things in the world. Not everyone can be Winston Churchill. I am fine with that. I contribute. Occasionally I lead. I have a meaningful place. But damn it felt nice to be looked up to. Just having held a job and being his brother qualified me in Matt's eyes. I miss that.