The Last Time

This particular picture was taken looking out a window in the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg FL. I love geometric shapes, so this one pic drew me in. Of course, looking out the window gives you a strong sense of Florida.

This Spring my older brother suddenly came to mind. The last time I visited him was twenty years ago in 2002. At that time, we vowed to stay connected. To my disappointment, that never happened. We were separated from each other in 1956 when our mother decided to skip out on her marriage and two of her three children in search of greener (meaning money) pastures. Though I didn’t know it then, she was an extreme narcissist, so no one or nothing mattered much to her except her. I didn’t realize it at the time, I just thought all women were like her. That belief would hang on to me for way longer than was healthy. Growing up I was never able to shake that view of women. In fact, in some ways it clings to me still.

I guess, legally, she couldn’t leave my brother with Dad as he was no blood relation to him. Within a year or two she found and married her “green pastures” via a wealthy lawyer in Florida. That marriage would last a dozen years before her husband divorced her and married his much younger secretary.

Getting back to the picture above

I took the picture above when I visited my older brother a few months ago. The Dali Museum was on my list to visit for this one-month long trip. My brother wasn’t too keen on going to the museum, but he and his wife did go with me. My brother just isn’t an Avant-Garde type guy, but he enjoyed making fun of all the art there. Here are a few of those pictures.

I spent four wonderful days with him recalling our early years together. Like the time when I was about five years old, and we were in the basement playing with the washing machine, and he got his hand caught in the wringer. He screamed to me to go get dad. I was so panicked that when I raced upstairs, I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth. I could just imagine when we went back down that he would be lying on the floor as flat as a pancake.

I did manage to grab dad’s hand and drag him to the basement. Long story, short, no bones were broken, but he did have some pretty severe black and blue marks for a few weeks. I couldn’t believe some of the stories he remembered before the time when we were separated so many years ago, I was devastated that I didn’t have a big brother any longer. He was my idol.

Then there was the time that we staked our little brother out in the backyard as he was so annoying. Wonderful memories, but maybe not for our younger brother. 😎

During my four-day visit, he mentioned that he was having difficulties sleeping and would see his doctor after I left. The next day as I was leaving I told him this would probably be the last time we see each other, but he adamantly proclaimed that wouldn’t be the case. He was already planning to come up for visits in the coming year and expected me to do the same. Of course, I agreed, but something in the back of my mind told me that just wouldn’t happen.

Two weeks after that goodbye I got word that his checkup found stage 4 lung cancer and multiple tumors in his brain. He died about a month after that. I am just so happy that I got to spend that final four days with him. I think God was telling me it was now time for a visit. Now or never…

Losing my big brother so quickly brought home the fact that life can change on a dime. We never know when our time will come up, so it is up to each of us to make each day as fruitful as possible. I intend to do just that with whatever time I have left.

Here’s to you Ronnie, you will always be my BIG BROTHER…

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