Death of a Sibling

The death of my brother (Aaron Thaler) was devastating.

I was a few weeks shy of 3 years old when Aaron was born, so he was a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

My father was in the Army and we grew up overseas.  I didn’t really get to know my extended family until I was a teenager and I never had the same friend for more than a couple of years.

That made my relationship with Aaron even more special.  He was that one person I was able to play with and fight with, all throughout my childhood years.  He was my only consistent friend.

We had our ups and downs together.  Many battles were fought and a lot of blood was spilt.  However, no grudges were held.  After a few days, we would laugh about the last fight as if it was all a game.

Aaron died suddenly and I spent the first month in a state of shock.  Eventually the reality hit me and I went into a deep state of depression.

It’s been five years since Aaron passed, but I will always miss my brother.

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Anthropomorphized my Dogs

I got to wondering what my dogs would be like as people.  This is what I came up with.

Ben is a Great Pyrenees and the laziest dog I have ever seen.  I think Ben would be a mid-level office worker that spends all his free time watching T.V.

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Blue is an Australian Cattle Dog.  He would make a wonderful drill sergeant, because he loves barking out orders and telling everyone where they should be going.

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Joey is a Labrador/Pyrenees mix.  He is hyperactive, stubborn, and goofy.  I can picture Joey as an excellent high school P.E. teacher.

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Norton is a terrier mix.  He may be the smallest dog in our family, but his brothers never mess with him.  He has a big attitude.  I think Norton would be a successful politician.

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Buddy is a Rottweiler/Beagle mix.  He is all about fairness.  In fact, if Buddy sees one of his brothers being mean to another brother he will jump into action and defend the one being wronged.  That’s why I think Buddy would be a social worker.

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Mom Lied About My Birthday

In 1979, we moved from Mannheim, Germany, to Columbus, Georgia.  The cutoff date for starting school was different in Georgia.  According to the school rules, I was not old enough to start first grade and had to repeat kindergarten.

Mom disagreed with that policy, so she decided to lie about my age.  She told the administrators she didn’t have all the documents they requested, due to the move and would bring them later.  Since the school was located near a military base, this was a reasonable story and not uncommon.

Several months went by and I was sitting in class.  The teacher asked, “Who knows their birthday?”

My hand shot up in the air and I said, “September 10, 1973.”

My teacher said I was wrong, but I was adamant about it.  An argument ensued and I refused to even acknowledge the possibility that I was wrong.

The teacher had a talk with Mom when she came to pick me up that day.  Mom played it off by saying her birthday is in September and I was probably just confused.  She told the teacher I was born August 10, 1973.

We get home and Mom sits down with me for a talk.  She explained the situation.  I was confused, but agreed to keep my birthday a secret.

In 1980, we moved back to Germany and my age was never again a problem.

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I Remember That Feeling

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I was talking to Gwen and she expressed concerns about what life will be like after college.  Will she be able to find a job and make enough money to become self-sufficient?

I told her, “Of course you will.”  Then I went on my merry way.

A few days later, I got to thinking about that conversation and how I dismissed her concerns.  I remember having those same fears at her age.  It seems like a distant memory now, but at the time it was real and stressful.

I realized I owe Gwen an apology for not paying attention to what she was saying.  Instead of dismissing her concerns, I should have told Gwen I understand what she is feeling and it is normal.  I should have been more empathetic and reassuring.  I should have reminded her that I am here to help in anyway I can.