xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: My brother

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My brother

Today would have been my brother's 43rd birthday; he died of cancer on April 3, 2003. I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you guys a little bit about him.

I was probably 2 here, and he was 5. I still do that thing with my mouth, by the way.

My brother was one of those people who was too good for this world. I know, it's weird, because there really aren't very many people like that, but he was one of them. His entire life was marked by good luck and fortune. Prom King, Homecoming King, Most Likely To Succeed, Most All Around... I'm not exaggerating, he was voted all of those things in high school. He was the most popular person who ever lived. He knew everybody at every school in our little section of the San Fernando Valley, and he was loved and adored by all of them; hundreds of friends, hundreds of admirers and people who had just heard "of" him. He was famous.

I fucking hated him. I did. I was 3 years younger and I spend my entire childhood living in his shadow. Starting from when I was in 7th grade, I was no longer Jill, I was "David's little sister." I had no identity of my own, until I left LA for college in Santa Barbara. It was actually weird to have people call me by my name, or to ask how I was instead of how he was.

I don't know when this was taken, I found it on Facebook

I went years barely speaking to him. I wasn't interested in his perfect life or what he was up to with his perfect friends and perfect everything that he had. I never called him, I only knew what he was up to because my parents would tell me. Except, we saw each other on holidays, and every time I was reminded of how great he was. Really, he wasn't that popular by accident, it was because he was a good guy. Funny as hell, with that kind of sarcasm that a lot of people just don't get. Super smart, good looking, charming and just really, really nice. I was torn, because he was really awesome, and there I was, hating him.

But, I got older, I grew up some (let's not go nuts), I gained perspective. I moved to the Bay Area where he was living, too, and we started talking and seeing each other more. In the meantime, he was busy getting insanely rich by being really smart during the tech boom of the 1990s; I actually did his books for a while. I was working in San Francisco where he lived, so we had lunch every few months or so. We actually became friends; it was cool, really, since he was still such a great guy, and who doesn't want to be friends with a great guy, right? We never got really close, though; I just didn't want to and I think he understood that.

He never had kids of his own. I think Child 1 was the first baby he'd ever held. Badly, as you can see

He was diagnosed with Melanoma in 1996. The next 7 years were spent with countless doctors, clinical trials, CAT scans, PET scans, drugs, hospitalizations, even a trip to China for a controversial treatment. It spread to his brain, anyway. The last 6 weeks of his life were spent in the hospital where he eventually got sepsis. We got close at the end, I was at the hospital every day. I was in his ICU room with his wife and his best friend when he died. He was 35.

I don't know, was he too good for this world? Did the star shine too brightly and was destined to burn out too soon? 8 years later and I've stopped asking why; that's just life, I guess and I can't continue to rail against the unfairness of it all. I'm mostly sad that he never got to know my kids, he definitely would have liked them; autism and all.

This is my absolute favorite picture. Look at that look of intense concentration. Classic!



38 comments:

Domestic Goddess said...

Cancer sucks. Your brother sounds like a cool dude.

lifewithasperger said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, and that your kids didn't get to know their uncle. DG is right cancer sux.
This story really touched me because I have a similar love/hate relationship with my kid brother. Although hate really isn't the word, I think it might be more jealousy for me. But your brother sounds a lot like mine. All around great guy who turns everything he touches into gold. We're friends, but we're not close. Ah, well..like you said life's just like that.

Claire said...

Awesome story...beautiful photos...love his curly head! I'm sorry you lost him, but thankfully you got close to him before hand...no regrets.

bbsmum said...

Like DG said. So sad. [hug]

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

Lyndsey said...

I'm sorry that he was gone so young. You're right, it is always the ones that are too good for this world that go so soon.

Dammit. Now I have to go call my brother.

Big Daddy Autism said...

Seems to me that the world was fortunate to have him for 35 years and so were you when you eventually let him into your life. I didn't know him but now I miss him too.

kitten said...

Such a sweet post, thanks for sharing this.

Dani G said...

Fuck, you were right. This post was more than kleenex worthy. And like, BDA, I miss him now, too.

Fuck you, cancer!!! you fucking cocksucker!

@jencull (jen) said...

What BigDaddy said, he got it spot on.

tulpen said...

That just fucking sucks. 35 years isn't long enough.

Karolina said...

I'm sorry. I have no idea what it must be like. I have a brother about 8 years my junior and it's been rough between the two of us...maybe I should work harder to change things from now on?...

Autism Mom Rising said...

I'm truly sorry for your loss. I can see the charisma of which you speak in these photos, if that makes sense. I love the idea that photos of our departed loved ones on our websites will keep their memory alive for generations. That's why I've put my dad's up.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

I lost a friend to cancer 10 years ago and I still miss him...so yes, I understand a need to rail!

I'm so sorry for your loss and glad that you had the opportunity to be with him at the end.

Rebecca said...

Sounds like a great guy. Glad you shared some of his story with us. Thanks

Pie Maker said...

I have no words of comfort Jillsmo but I'm feeling you. xoxo

jillsmo said...

Wow, thanks guys. You're all so awesome. I appreciate it :)

Jessica said...

I am very sorry that your time with your brother was cut so short, cancer sucks and a life ended way too soon does too. Lots of hugs to you.

RacersMommy said...

I read ur blog this morning and its been running around in my head all day. Me and my brother are the same way but I'm the older one. Its echoed with me all day because with him there are just some things I cnt fix anymore even though I wish I could

I'm glad you shared this.

JennieB said...

You know I lost my brother to cancer as well. It sucks and I'm so sorry we have this in common.

Cheryl D. said...

That does just suck! He sounds like he was a great guy. I'm glad you got close to as adults.

Lynn said...

35 is way too young. So sorry for you, yours kids, his wife, the world.

Not Just Another Mother Blogger! said...

There are no words. You're a wonderful sister.

Laural Out Loud said...

Ahh, you did him good here. I'm honored to be let in on the memory of such a great guy.

Varda said...

Ditto what everybody said. Especially the cursing. Not Fair Not Fair Not Fair. Sigh.

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

That was a wonderful post. I love that photo of your brother with the elaborate hat on his head. I am glad for you that you were able to become closer to him before his life ended so soon.

Came over from The Red Dress Club.

Carri said...

Cancer sucks. :( The good ones always go too soon. It's the way of the universe because life really freakin' blows sometimes.
I'm sorry you lost a great guy.

Galit Breen said...

Oh, sweetie, (Can I call you that even though it's only my first visit here?) this was such a revealing post. I hung onto every word and am sending you love and goodness. Just because that's what you exuded here and I think that you need some of that back. So here you go. Thank you for writing this- it can't have been easy to do so.

transplantedx3 said...

It's a reminder, isn't it? I have 2 older brothers that I don't really get along with, but they're family, right? It shouldn't take something devastating to realize that time is short, but it usually does. Thanks for sharing with such honesty. The thought crosses my mind that I should be the adult and call one, if not both of them, but let's not get crazy. I know I won't do it any more than they would, especially since they haven't even called once since my own David passed away. Sad, really. I'm glad you have good memories of him.

Jenna said...

thank you for sharing your brother with us. I love how openly you speak of how you felt about living in his shadow, yet how tenderly you speak of him one you got to know him as an adult. I am sorry for your loss. I am glad you have such great memories of him!

MamaRobinJ said...

This is a lovely post and I can feel your emotion in it. Thanks for sharing it.

Visiting from TRDC.

K A B L O O E Y said...

It's a brutal thing, cancer. But your honest recollection of your relationship with your brother is incredibly moving. And the photos are marvelous. I'm glad you were able to get closer to him. Now words are failing, but thank you for sharing this story with all of us.

Robbie K said...

I hate Cancer. I am so sorry that your kids did not get to know their uncle. So glad you were able to be there at the end for him.

i LOVE the pic of him playing the Elmo piano!

Margheritte said...

Lovely post!I hate Cancer too, it took my amazing dad at just 46! As I learned at that time, being a teen mom had that one advantage, that my dad got to meet my kids... I am very close with my brothers, all 5 of themn since my dad passed, I guess I just saw how fragile life really is...

summer said...

I love this post. I'm so glad you whored the shit out of it because this is my first time here.

Sara said...

Fuck cancer. Great honest post. I loved every word and if I could I would come to the land of hammocks and give you a hug.

Kelly said...

Ah, Jillsmo, what a beautiful post. I am terribly sorry for your loss, and the world's loss in general. Your brother sounds remarkable. BTW, you're pretty damn special, too. ((hugs))

Rhonda said...

Yes.. i agree with Kelly. You're INCREDIBLY awesome! ((hugs))

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