Love Poems and Sad Stories - December Is a Cold, Hard Month

December Is a Cold, Hard Month
December Is a Cold, Hard Month | Source
My Brother
My Brother | Source

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Twenty years earlier, his brother had helped him bury their father (The Gold Wedding Band), and now he was burying his brother, alone at the cemetary except for his wife and the three men from the funeral parlor.

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December Is a Cold, Hard Month

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He stood alone looking down into the open grave as they lowered his brother’s coffin into it. It was blustery cold and his wife had decided to stay in the warm car. He understood, since she had only met his brother a few times since they had gotten married six years earlier; once when his brother had helped them move into their new house, a second time at their wedding and a few more times at infrequent family get togethers.

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He was more upset because his sister, his nieces and nephew and even the woman that his brother had lived with these past few years hadn't shown up at the cemetery. In fact, since he was the only male there besides the three men from the funeral parlor, he had to help carry his brother’s casket from the hearse to the gravesite.

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As they continued to lower his brother’s coffin into the ground, he thought about all of the events leading up to this day and the fact that he never got to say goodbye to his brother.

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His brother lived in Antioch, Illinois and he lived in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, more than 300 miles away. They only saw each other once or twice a year when he stopped on the way to visit his parents in north-central Wisconsin, when they were still alive, and in later years when he went to visit his sister and her children in Milwaukee. Then, he usually planned to stay overnight or at least have dinner and a few drinks together with his brother.

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It was during those visits that he learned what little he knew about his brother’s life. His brother never called or wrote and always said very little about himself, unless they were in a bar drinking beer and smoking. Only then would he find out what his brother was doing, who his friends were and how he was feeling.

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His brother was always active and never complained about his health which was why it was such a shock when he got the call from his sister telling him that his brother was in a hospital in Illinois and to come as quickly as possible. Before he had even arranged to take off from work and pack up his wife and dogs for the long drive to Illinois,he had gotten the message that his brother was already dead and he would now be coming to bury him.

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The next few days had been a nightmare, arranging for a funeral parlor in Milwaukee to transport his brother’s body from the hospital in Waukegan. Then he had to make funeral arrangements and buy a cemetery plot because his brother hadn’t made any provisions for his death. In fact, he had no insurance, only a few hundred dollars in the bank and less than seventy dollars in his wallet.

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He even left very few personal belongings except for a 22 year old truck that barely ran and a lot of tools that he had accumulated over the years. He salvaged what he could of his brother’s tools and personal effects and arranged for his truck to be scrapped. Once that was accomplished there would be no further reason to ever return to Antioch, where he had spent many pleasant hours with his brother planning the things they would do together someday.

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Before he had gotten married, he and his brother had talked about buying or renting a van and slowly traveling across the country stopping whenever they pleased and staying overnight in a motel from time to time when they needed a shower. They never managed to find the time.

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More recently, when his brother had turned 64, they planned for him to finally retire from his handyman’s job and come live with him for awhile after the first of the year. His brother was handy with tools and could build anything just like their father had been. He had always wanted to remodel his basement and add an extra bedroom and a small bathroom. This would have been a golden opportunity to get that done and to spend more time with his brother too. Unfortunately, he had died in December, just one month too early.

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Suddenly, he was jarred back to reality as the men from the funeral parlor finished their work and loaded up the hearse to drive away. He looked once more at the grave and said a silent prayer to himself " May God have mercy on his soul". As he slowly walked back to the van, he realized that he was shivering as he thought to himself "December is a cold, hard month".

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The young man has just turned 65 years old, but he has to continue working because he married late in life. He and his wife had adopted two Russian orphans and they were both still in school so it came as a shock when only one month after his 65th birthday he was told " Your Job Has Been Eliminated".

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The Location of this true story

show route and directions
A markerAntioch, Illinois -
Antioch, IL, USA
[get directions]

B markerMilwaukee, Wisconsin -
Milwaukee, WI, USA
[get directions]

C markerWaukegan, Illinois -
Waukegan, IL, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 13 comments

nenytridiana profile image

nenytridiana 5 years ago from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia

Sad story! It was a hard month! He's die with nothing to left. good story rjsadoeski!


rjsadowski profile image

rjsadowski 5 years ago Author

Thank you for your comment. Sometimes, when we keep putting things off, we run out of time.


loquacious laura 5 years ago

You story points out that if we want to build relationships, now is the time. None of us knows when our time is up and we let everything else take over our lives. The opening and the fact that there were few people who showed up at the funeral says it all. Thanks for the heart-rendering story.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

A sad lonely story. That poor person put life off until it was too late and his brother missed seeing him.


lotusb34 profile image

lotusb34 5 years ago from Maine

I know the pain, I am living it now. I am in tune with this one


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

Yes, and each December the memories will forever come back. A really nice story, reminding all brothers to keep the family bond. Give lots of hugs and calls to those dear to you.

Like your writing. Up and beautiful


Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

Rated up, awesome, and beautiful. Wonderful writing style. Thanks for bearing your soul to us all. All the best.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

An awesome story written well. We should never put things off ir we may lose the chance altogether. A good reminder.


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 5 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

such a sad story...reminding us we're living in a borrowed time...


Ruchi Urvashi profile image

Ruchi Urvashi 5 years ago from Singapore

well written


damselfly21 profile image

damselfly21 5 years ago

touching, well done


Andi 23 months ago

I am Lauren's Mom and the Ouma of these two gorgeous chdirlen. I would love to post these on my Facebook page with a plug for you but cannot figure out how to do it. Tried the "share" but all it did was create a link between my e-mail & facebook accounts, which is certainly not what I wanted. Help please! The photos are incredible but I am a bit biased of course. Thank-you


Ellyanna 23 months ago

I can't believe you're not playing with me-ath-t was so helpful.

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