The Gentle Giant
In Memory of Chuck
Two years ago today, my brother took his life just seven months after my Mom passed away from a heart attack. I am celebrating the memory of his life here on HubPages so that he and those who love him will know he is never gone from our hearts or thoughts. I wrote the eulogy below on the day he died:
A little baby boy was born on this earth forty years ago. He was the fourth out of five children born to a hard-working man and a beautiful, creative woman.
This baby boy was a strapping young child, with spunk and determination and a gentle, tender-hearted spirit. All this child ever wanted was to be loved and accepted just as he was and to make his family proud. He wasn’t afraid to do anything, as far back as I can remember. When he was two-years-old, he dropped an Oreo cookie on the floor after it had been in his mouth. He picked it up off the floor and ate it anyway! His “big brother” was four. Billy had no idea what it was that he saw go back in that boy’s mouth but it made poor Billy throw up all over the place!
This boy grew up to be to be smart and creative. He could draw like nobody’s business. He was an artist, like his Mama. He had a gentle spirit, like his Mama, in the ways he reacted when he saw animals and people suffer. I remember walking across the street when I was 18 and he was 9. I got hit by a truck with a snowplow blade on it and when I came home from the hospital, that child was sobbing as if his heart was broken! He was so compassionate and caring!
He didn’t get many fair breaks in life. He had several things happen that he wouldn’t wish on anyone. His trailer burned down before Thanksgiving and he and his wife and sons lost everything. He built his determination and motivation back up over time and bought a house for his family to live in.
He took his wife and kids and my sons to the movie “Insomniac”... you know, the one with Al Pacino and Robin Williams playing a bad guy and this tender-hearted man, this “Gentle Giant” (as my Mom used to call him), cried at the end of that movie!
When Mom and Dad lost their dog, Bear, that boy went out and bought them another dog because he felt so bad, he didn’t want our parents to be sad anymore. He even bought them a couch once...I couldn’t afford to do that, even if I wanted to but he did that for them. He wanted them to have it...he had that kind of heart.
He was a good cook. He learned that from both Mom and Dad. He loved cooking and was always at Mom’s, making dinner for her. She appreciated that and loved it, I know she did, because she told me so!
He realized that all his choices didn’t always make everyone happy, but in his deepest heart, he felt he was doing what was right and best. You couldn’t ask for more than that!
He loved wrestling, which was very cool to my oldest son, Josh, because Josh has loved wrestling ever since he was 6-years-old. When my son lived with my Mom and Dad for a few months in 2003, the “Gentle Giant” and he would watch wrestling together and get so totally into it, that they were bonded for life! Josh told me he watched the video of that wrestling match today, in honor of his uncle.
I left home when my brother was only 8 (he was a “mini-giant” then!), so I don’t know him well but what I DO know is this:
Even though he had a hard time expressing himself and his feelings, I believe deep down in his heart, he never hated anyone. He couldn’t stand discord and anger and felt broken-hearted that nobody understood him. Except my Mom. He believed she was the one person on this earth that loved him unconditionally and when she died, he couldn’t go on.
I believe I understand him pretty well because I have tried in my past, twice unsuccessfully, to do one of the things he succeeded at today. I have lived the same feeling of unworthiness and hopelessness that he felt. I understand his suffering and pain and the unfairness that he saw the world dish out. I have experienced being “invisible” to the rest of the world, just like he did. My heart cries for him and yet, in the same moment, I am at peace, knowing that he is with our precious Mom and knowing that he realizes now that there is peace and contentment in a far better world than this one.
He is the one grandchild that finally gets to know Grandpa Ernie before any of the rest of us ever get to meet him. He is hanging out with Mom and Grandma and Grandpa and his aunts, uncles and his grandparents from Dad’s side of the family. He is with us and sees us and watches out for us everywhere we go, just like Mom and all those we have lost in the past. Just because we can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t here. They are more real and closer to us now than they could have ever been if they had stayed here on earth. Mom needed him with her. They have lots of work to do up there because they have a huge family to watch over and protect.
This “Gentle Giant”, whom I love with all my heart, I am honored to say, is my baby brother. His name is Chuck.