And Now There Are Three

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How to say good-bye to a brother?  It’s new to me and I don’t have the answer.  My brother Alan died recently from complications of a lung transplant he received almost five years ago.  The lung began to fail and the prognosis was that Alan had less than six months to live, or maybe sooner, or maybe only weeks.  However, it turned out it wasn’t even any of those predictions.  As my husband Bill and I were in the air on the way to Oklahoma to see Alan, we didn’t know that he had taken a sudden turn for the worse.  When we landed I called my sister-in-law Ellen to tell her we had landed and we were on our way.  She then told me Alan had died less than two hours before.

When a loved one who is suffering dies, the first thought is there is no more suffering and the loved one is at peace.  After that, the family left behind is in disbelief even though our brains know what is eventually going to happen.  It takes the brain a while to accept the reality.

I have no recollection of Bill and I going to baggage claim after the phone call to Ellen.  Bill sat me down in a quiet deserted area while he went to get the rental car.  After about ten minutes of uncontrolled sobbing, a door opened out of nowhere and an elderly woman with a cane, along with a woman who was probably her daughter, walked in and sat down not too far away from me.  They obviously saw me in distress and as they got up to leave, the elderly woman slowly walked over to me and touched my arm.  She said to me, “I hope whatever happened will get easier for you in time.” What would the world do without the kindness of strangers?

Now our family will have to get used to life without Alan.  We will miss his calm demeanor in any situation.  We will miss his strong faith, quiet nature, and how he could manage to make any situation easier, no matter how difficult.  Alan loved his family and said he didn’t want to die until his first great-grandchild was born.  He got that wish just a couple weeks earlier.  Less than a week before he died I asked what he would like for me to cook for him when I arrived.  I guessed he would pick a comfort food of my mom’s, and he did.  He requested her family favorite Pepperpot Soup.  I never got to make it for him.

Even with difficulty, especially for his beloved wife of fifty-five years, the world will go on without him.  His children, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild will always carry his love with them.  Alan may be gone, but our love for him is with us always.

Rest in peace, Alan.  Your sister will love you forever.

And now there are three.


20 Responses to And Now There Are Three

  1. July 14, 2023 at 4:37 am #

    I’m so very sorry for your loss Debbie. It sounds like your brother was a special person – your tribute to him is beautiful.

    • July 14, 2023 at 7:40 am #

      Thank you, Rosanne. Alan was indeed a special person.

  2. July 14, 2023 at 6:50 am #

    So sorry for you and your family. A lovely written tribute to you brother–prayers your way.

    • July 14, 2023 at 7:39 am #

      Thank you, Barb.

  3. July 14, 2023 at 7:58 am #

    What an exquisite and honest tribute to your brother, Debbie! …and ‘now there are three’ has special resonance with my own family of origin. But Love truly is the one entity that never leaves us. Wrapping you in his Love, fellow grandmother!

    • July 14, 2023 at 8:14 am #

      Thank you, dear fellow grandma. Love does indeed go on forever.

  4. July 14, 2023 at 8:18 am #

    What would we do indeed without comforting little old ladies, and wonderful sister-in-laws like you. I love you sweet sister.

    • July 14, 2023 at 8:21 am #

      I love you too. You are first in everyone’s mind. So many prayers coming your way.

  5. July 14, 2023 at 10:25 am #

    Your words spoke volumes about your brother and your love for him. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pictures. My prayers are with you
    Jeannine <

    • July 14, 2023 at 8:06 pm #

      Thank you my dear old friend. I think of you often. Love you.

  6. July 14, 2023 at 10:35 am #

    Dear Friend,
    My heart goes out to all of your family, and memories of him will always be with you.
    Hugs, blessings, and prayers

    • July 14, 2023 at 8:03 pm #

      Thank you, Elaine. I hope you are doing well. I think about you all the time.

  7. July 14, 2023 at 3:21 pm #

    Oh the comfort of strangers <3

    • July 14, 2023 at 8:01 pm #

      Agree, Lisa. They are all around us.

  8. July 14, 2023 at 9:11 pm #

    What a beautiful tribute to your brother Alan. Your love for him shines through, and it will shine on with you forever. I wish you strength as you navigate your way through this, and eventual healing and peace.

    • July 14, 2023 at 11:44 pm #

      Priscilla, thank you for the wise and kind words. We’ll talk soon.

  9. July 16, 2023 at 10:49 am #

    Dear Debbie, Our hearts are heavy for your loss. Your brother Alan sounds like such an amazing faithful man who lived a full life sharing love, joy, encouragement & faith with all his family & friends. He will be missed much. Praying the Lord comforts you with the knowledge of Alan’s heavenly welcome home & refresh your hearts daily with all those precious past memories & give you hope in the knowledge of your future heavenly reunion. With love & prayers ❤️

    • July 17, 2023 at 12:06 am #

      Kim, thank you for your comforting words.

  10. July 18, 2023 at 11:28 am #

    What a beautiful tribute. And I love the photos of you and your siblings growing up. Please keep these sweet memories in your heart. Hugs and love to you.

    • July 18, 2023 at 10:49 pm #

      Thank you for the comforting and kind words, Polly.

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