As we near the 10th anniversary of the passing of my brother Steve, I’d like to share this thought. It goes without saying he’s been deeply missed. His kind doesn’t come along often and his death left a deep hole in my heart.
Steve was a man of great character, unusual conviction and exceptional honesty. His word was the coin of his realm. He left an indelible mark on the lives of many.
Steve moved in many different circles. At his funeral those circles closed rank, circled the wagons and grieved together. And what a sight it was — St. Anne’s Church packed to the rafters, filled with people, many of whom were strangers to each other, all sharing a common bond: friendship with Steve.
His death left my spirit with an insatiable hunger. Over the years we’d become friends as well as brothers. I came to rely on our talks. They fed my soul. I’ve come to a larger understanding of friendship by not having Steve on the planet. I realize that friends are one of the primary sources of joy we have as humans. I tap into that joy when I remember our moments together.
Like the time when Steve was eight years old, hospitalized with infectious hepatitis. For the longest time we weren’t sure he’d survive. The family was deeply concerned but little Steve seemed not concerned at all. I remember one occasion when we peered at each other through the window to his isolation unit.
I’m sure I had the look of fear on my face. Steve, on the other hand, was making crazy, wacky faces at me, trying to get me to laugh. They were the same faces he made when trying to make me laugh in church. It worked and in no time I was in stitches. While I was concerned that he was dying, his only concern was to wipe the frown off my face!
Steve was being Steve — at eight years old.
When I was asked to offer a eulogy at his funeral I tried to remember Steve as he would have wanted to be remembered:
Remember me as a coach, not for what I knew of the game, but for what I knew of my players.
Remember me as an attorney, not for the cases I won, but for how I won my cases
Remember me as a neighbor, not for the house I lived in, but for the neighbors I cared for.
Remember me as a teammate, not for the games I played, but for how I played the game.
Remember me as a father, not for what I taught my sons, but for what my sons taught me.
Remember me on St. Patrick’s Day, not for where I marched In the parade, but for the clan I marched with.
So on this 10th anniversary of his passing, this poem by Henry Scott-Holland captures how I imagine Steve would like to be remembered now.
Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Just a thought…
Copyright © 2019 Patrick J. Moriarty. All Rights Reserved.
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