WELCOME ABOARD the Neverending Ocean Cruise!

Welcome to the deep end,
Glad To Have You Here
...where we find shorter spaces between us.
-- Bobby Ocean

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When Sad Mixes With Glad

 Keeping An Open Heart Anyway

Been away from my blog for awhile, sorry. Family comes first.

This is a sad note I write to you. It is through quite a large helping of melancholy I must report: I lost one of my brothers toward the end of last month. Heart attack. No one saw it coming. All so very suddenly, one beautiful, sunny morning, no more brother Brian.

Being the offspring with a taste in commercial radio in my blood, I was instantly nominated for delivering Brian's eulogy. What an impossible task - to sum up an intimate, wonderful, colorful lifetime in a scattering of words.

And - what an indescribable honor.

I am one of seven children, reared and steered by what I feel were the best parents on Earth. Funny, as we "kids" get older, our mom and dad continue to look better and better.

As people grow and gather world experiences, their understanding expands, and parents are placed under that super electron magnifying scope for a closer look. Mine just get better and better.

As do my siblings. There couldn't be a more diverse collection of individuals. All that I am, is the result of influences by mom and dad, and the sharing and learning that happened growing along with my brothers and sister.

Brian was the one with the wide open heart. Most folks you meet seem to have so many things about which you must learn before they can really let loose and befriend you. Not Bri. What you got, when he walked in, was instant, full force Brian, no pretenses.

As the hours began to gather momentum after the initial feeling of shock at this all-too-final news, it became more and more obvious this characteristic was a signiture in itself. At work, as Brian grew from the earthen vineyards to a management desk, he managed to keep all his friends along the way. ("He is my angel," one young lady told me through sobs) She and they all have become his loving extended family.

And so, there it was, all of a sudden; the eulogy wrote itself around his natural open-heartedness. The words came in a rapid blur. I jotted down the ideas as fast as they came. It was written not by thought, but by heart.

Somehow, I found this old school language in the Bible (Book of Psalms, 50:14) and I instantly understood the deeper meaning: "..Offer to God praise as your sacrifice and fulfil your vows to the Most High; then call upon me in times of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me."

To me it translated into something like this:"Give up crying over your loss, and instead offer genuine thanks and reverence for the gift your brother, Brian, has been and continues to be. Choose to focus on your Higher Power within, especialy during overwhelming sorrow, and, with an open heart, be consoled, see clearly and brought to peace. Then, thank God."

And that's what I DO feel. Such gladness everywhere, such thankfulness that I got to spend so many moments as part of the family we all made by being together. There are tears, of course, but behind them, in the stillness that is our backdrop for all in motion, is a pure streak of gratitude so real as to have no polar opposite.

As a family, we learned many years ago to end practically every phone call and meeting with "I love you," tagged onto "good bye," so I know I remembered to tell him and I know he knew I loved him. That's more of a solace than I could have known until now.

And his standard of always acting with an open heart is gleaming brighter by the hour. I aim to follow his example and do a much better job of it than in the past. When my heart is still and attentive, I can feel my brother as if he were sitting right beside me.

My huge thanks to you for allowing me to share pieces of my heart here like this. Guess you're part of our close, extended family.

No comments: