My brother Gene, my remaining sibling, passed away Wednesday from a heart condition. He took a piece of my soul when he left this earth.
Gene loved people. Each time I visited, he introduced me to new friends. His mall-walking pals. The donut store regulars. And his buddy, Heinen. He taught me how to be a social Senior Citizen where people gathered and the coffee was cheap. I admire his talent for collecting friends.
He also loved fishing and traveling. At 88 years those days were memories, but he still enjoyed visiting with his family and the tenants in his assisted living facility. Until the COVID-19 hit. The restrictions meant he only saw one person a day, the moment the attendant brought his daily meal to his door. For a man who cherished people, it was a hard way to live.
My first memory of my brother was us driving to get the family’s mail. I was four years old. We lived in the country with a long, rutted lane between the house and the mailbox. On our way, he let me drive the car. Sitting on his lap, I was too short to reach the pedals, so he “helped me out” by working them. But I steered the car down the ruts all by myself.
That is me now, guided unseen by my brother down life’s bumpy road.