- Death & Loss of Life
The Home Going
I was drained. I was exhausted from the physical energy expended from both the viewing and the services for my brother's home going. I had been fighting off a headache since coming home on that day, but the services were very nice. So many people came to the viewing.
I saw family members I haven't seen in years, in fact, I hadn't seen them since my grandmother passed. It was really great to reconnect with my cousins again. It was just like my brother to bring people together. All these wonderful friends he had since junior high came and told me fantastic things about my brother that they loved. It was so nice meeting all of them.
I was holding up pretty good until the service started. The rain started to fall when they showed the slideshow, and I saw all these wonderful pictures of my brother with his family.
Then they opened up the floor for anyone who had something to share about him. Prior to the services starting, I had been sitting on the couches in the front of the room with my back to the main part of the room where everyone would be sitting.
At the point in which I got up to say something about my brother; as I reached the pulpit and turned around to face the room, I was stunned at the number of people who were present to honor my brother. The entire room for the services was filled, as well as the parlor, and the entire entryway and hall from the front of the building. This does not include the many people that had come earlier, paid their respects and had to leave.
Seeing this number of people threw me off guard as I was standing at the podium. What I said at the time was nice and definitely representive of my brother, but there were so many other funny, little, specific things I could have shared.
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For instance, we had this thing since we were kids that we'd say all the time. In fact, it was actually 2 phrases, and to this day I have no idea where this came from. The first thing was, "45" and second was, "piece of fish."
It was just a particular thing we used to say to each other when we were joking around. For instance, right now if you were him asking me why we said this I would tell you, "I don't know...piece of fish." This is how we utilized this little phrase.
And if I were to ask him how many people showed up at the service, no matter how many people it was, the answer was always "45." So say for instance I said to my brother, " Uh...I see 200..." then after having already said the number 45, he would just give me a goofy look and mouth the words 45 from across the room, while flashing me first the number 4 with his hand and then the number 5.
He would give me this goofy, matter-of-fact look, like Peter on Family Guy when he would insist that what he said was the final word. Then he might say something that should have been something like, " I don't know. It's a mystery to me." Instead his version would come out like, " I don't know. It's a piece of fish to me."
And of course we had voices. "45" and " piece of fish" was usually spoken in the voice of the goofy professor; a voice I still use to this day on my son, which drives him crazy, but also makes him laugh.
I think I can safely say that I can attribute all the goofy voices I do with my son to this day, to my brother. We were always clowning around. I've been doing the same with my son since he was very young.
He used to wake up, when he was little, with the voice of Elmo telling him to, "Waaake uuuup!" I would tell my son in the voice of Elmo, that if he didn't wake up, that Elmo was going to bring out the "tingler" and tickle him awake.
Naturally I'd hear him giggle under the covers trying to pretend he was still asleep. When I'd bring the "tingler" out, it was always with the voice of the Count. The tingler itself was also called "Ze Claw." The voice of the Count would tell my son, "Ze Claw is comming to get chou, aha aha aha." My son would dive under the covers giggling like crazy trying to get away from being tickled.
I can't tell you the number of goofy, funny, whiny and annoying voices we used to make up as kids. What I can tell you is that I still use those voices today to annoy the mess out of my son and make him laugh.
This whole thing about the voices was just one of many anecdotes I could have given that day. However, I did mention the comedy. I did mention the fact that we goofed around a lot and that we used to do voices. I did mention the physical comedy the facial expressions that my brother used to do that was so comical.
I think my favorite out of all the voices he used to do, was most definitely the Indian voice of Habu from The Simpsons. He could always have me falling off the chair with that one. He also did a good Peter from Family Guy.
But at the moment I was standing up there, I couldn't think of the specifics that I wanted. I was so surprised at the number of people that had come that I started to cry. That outpouring of love and support from so many people was just overwhelming. So all I could do was touch upon the fact that he was so funny without giving any specific stories.
I remember the first couple times that his wife heard us going on with our usual antics. She was so confused at what we were talking about, but it didn't take long for her to catch on and join in the fun.
The Coolest Thing
Despite the loss and the tears we shed over our loss; the services were very enjoyable to us because of the love that we shared. I personally was able to relax, finally, and enjoy the home going and celebration for my brother.
The stress on me had been lifted by the fact that I had finally been forced to confront that person that had been frustrating me. It may seem like it wasn't the best timing; but in actuality, the fact that we needed to support each other made this the best timing of all.
I was able to state clearly what it was that was driving me away from this person; and what was needed to keep me there, because I did truly want to be supportive. Apologies were and given and accepted, and everything was fine after that. But, that probably would not have happened that way, if not for this situation.
And my sister-in-law, his wife, did the coolest thing. You see, their children have been taught about God and Jesus. So everyone came to celebrate my brother going home to be the Jesus, including his kids.
His wife had them write notes and draw pictures for their father on little pieces of paper. These papers were tied to balloons, and as soon as the services were over, we let the balloons go, and waved goodby to my brother, their father, as the balloons floated up to heaven. It was really beautiful and ethereal. So now he's resting in peace and our hearts are at peace as well.