|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!|