I want to tell you about my big brother, Bob. There’s 12 years difference in our ages. Growing up, we were constantly heckling each other. That’s what my family does. When you walk into our parents’ house, there’s a guest closet right by the front door. Above that closet is a small cupboard. Whenever I would be really driving him nuts when I was little, he would pick me up and stick me in that cupboard. Now, keep in mind, this cupboard is about 5 feet off the ground. Mom used to get so mad at him for doing that! LOL See, the only person tall enough to get me out was Bob. If he didn’t want to get me down, I was up there for a while.
I remember another time when he was heading out the door of our house to go to work and I was hiding under the dining room table and I yelled out “Bye, Daddy Long Legs!” See, I never dreamed that being 6’2″ that he would EVER be able to get me under the table. I thought I was safe. Boy, was I wrong! Next thing I knew, he had dropped his lunch bucket and thermos and SLID under the table and started tickling me. Scared me to death so bad that all I could do was scream. Didn’t think he could move so fast! It was instant. LOL
My brother always had many friends all throughout his life. You see, he was one of those people who would give anything to help someone he cared about. He would defend a friend in any fight. Shortly before his death, a friend of his was attacked by his brother-in-law and some of his buddies in a bar. Why? Because the brother-in-law had been abusing his pregnant wife, my brother’s friend’s sister. Doing what brothers do, he had stepped between his sister and brother-in-law and stopped it and told him if he ever touched her again, he would make sure it never happened again. That night at the bar, my brother stepped in to help his friend. Two against five aren’t great odds, but that didn’t matter to Bob. His friend needed him.
He loved his wife and boys with all his heart and did everything he could to make sure they had everything they needed. His youngest, Tony, was his pride and joy.
In 1993, I was in my second-to-last semester of college. I was driving to the main campus five days a week, an hour each way. I remember the day of November 9th, Â driving up the interstate and about halfway to school, I looked over at a truck in the slow lane and saw that it was from Louisville, Ohio. I never look over at other vehicles when I am beside them. I don’t know why this made me think of Bob. He didn’t live there or work there. Thinking about my brother, I started thinking how, once I got my degree, I would be able to spend more time with him. For some reason, I got this overwhelming sense of dread that something was wrong. It was so bad that when I got to campus, I found a pay phone and called my Mom to ask if she had talked to him lately. She said she had talked to him about three or four days before. She asked me why I had asked and I couldn’t explain.
Then came the phone call that night at 3 a.m.Â Twenty years ago today, my Mom called to tell me my only brother was killed in a car accident. His friend, the very same friend he helped in that fight, was in the car with him. He had a severe head injury and two broken legs. He lived. Bob didn’t. I never knew what people meant when they said their world had collapsed. My world didn’t just collapse, it shattered. My heart felt like it had been ripped out and torn into a million pieces. Bob was not only my brother, he was my friend and someone I looked up to. Twenty years later, it still hurts so bad I can barely breathe. What I would give to see his face and hear his laugh one more time.
I guess the reason I am sharing this with you all is to remind everyone to never take your loved ones for granted. Call them up and tell them what they mean to you. Tell them you love them. I never got a chance to. I just always assumed he knew. I love you so much and miss you more than you could ever imagine, my brother.Â