He was always so tough on himself, expected so much from himself and I wonder if he ever realized what a truly great person he was?
My brother Joe and I mellowed into the reserved middle siblings, he, the stubborn blonde tow head and I his blonde older sister, were encompassed by two outgoing siblings, Deb, the oldest and Rob, the baby.
Joe and I were cohorts foremost, with the Fisher-Price towns our greatest entertainer, we created our fictional communities and then eased into our friendship as adults. There was an undeniable serenity to our relationship, one of the many things to love about Joe.
He loved his music and playing the guitar was his passion. Bashfully he strummed a few jingles on the stairway at our parents house during their 25th anniversary celebration. I was in awe of his performance. So enthralled with music he banked his funds until reaching half the tuition cost for guitar school in Los Angeles California, a deal my parents had offered him and once he reached half my parents put in the other portion.
Needing a car to live in California they decided it best for Joe to drive there. At the time I was newly married but able to get the time off work, and so it was decided that I would drive with him, visit with family and fly back.
One treasured story from our voyage to California happened after a lengthy day of driving, at last reaching a hotel for the night. Not wishing to haul all our luggage up the stairway he suggested that I stay at the top and he would thrust it up toward me. However, each time he would throw I would collapse with a burst of laughter and not catch the suitcase. Begging me to be serious, he would try again, so I was ready and serious, only to collapse again when he threw a second and third time. Exhausted, he then carried the suitcases up the stairs. At the time he didn't find it as humorous as I had... yet still today it makes me laugh...
Approximately a month was spent at Metro hospital after the discovery of Joes second aneurysm. Every day it was our job to show up, pray and wait for updates. Celebrating his accomplishments along the way as they brought him out of the medically induced coma, eyes blinking, squeezing our hands and so many other small acts gave us hope.
September 16th, Deb and I leave the surgical waiting room together, heading out to grab coffee for what was supposed to be a long wait. Finally, the day was here, things would start improving for Joe, they can do the surgery, his second brain surgery ten years later.
With coffee in hand Deb and I heard our mother crying from the hall and the fear collapsed in the pit of my stomach as we entered the room. They say your life can change in an instant and abruptly we learned the devistating news. The surgeon miscalculated and his costly error took Joes life.
Time was slowly moving as we tried to comprehend what had happened, Rob beat the elevator doors as we awaited its arrival, the things we needed to happen fast were now stagnant, but the knowledge we had received streamed quickly through our minds as we tried to sort out how this surgery had gone so wrong?
It was the next day we said good-bye to Joe, September 17, 2003, and our lives have never been the same...