Today is my brother’s birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away five years ago. If I could send him a message it would be:
I want you to know I still have your number in my contacts on my phone. I just could never bring myself to delete you. I love you and miss you. I wish you were here, so I could say happy birthday to you in person.
About 20 years ago, I was standing around after church and talking to a couple of older ladies. The conversation went kind of like this:
Older Lady Number 1: I watched a news special last night about people stealing from construction sites.
Older Lady Number 2: That’s horrible.
Me: My great aunt does that.
Older Lady Number 1: What, the news?
Me: No, steals from construction sites.
Me: She was arrested a few weeks ago for stealing a toilet, so she could remodel her bathroom. She’s already on parole, but because of her age, they probably will not send her to prison.
Old Lady Number 1 and Number 2, just stare at me with a blank look in their eyes and are completely speechless.
That was the end of our conversation.
I was at a funeral a few weeks ago, and I was talking to family members I haven’t seen in ages. Of course everyone was saying things like, “We only get together at funerals. We should do better, but I’ve been so busy.”
It’s a common sentiment in our day and time, but it got me thinking. Are we really that busy? The answer is “no.”
When someone dies, we always find time to be there for their funeral. Why can’t we do that when they are alive?
Mom, Aaron , and I went to the Black Forrest in 1987. It was just a family day trip, so we were riding on a tour bus.
This was our last day in Germany. The next day we would board a plane and move back to America. Mom was looking forward to this trip, since she probably would not get another chance to see the Black Forrest.
For some reason, my brother was an absolute tyrant that day. He was rude, obnoxious, bratty, and defiant. In all fairness to Aaron, he did not normally behave this way. He was usually a good kid, but that day he was on a roll.
It started as soon as we boarded the bus. Aaron decided to block the aisle and tried to charge people a toll fee to pass by him. Mom was rather embarrassed, but the worst was yet to come.
We were walking around and admiring all the sites, then Aaron started crying about being thirsty. He was winning and about ready to have a full on tantrum. Mom stopped at one of the shops and bought us each a can of soda.
Aaron took the soda and stuffed them in his jacket. He refused to give me one of the cans and said he was “holding them for ransom.” I started yelling at Aaron and we were on the verge of a throwing punches, when Mom stepped in to put a stop to the whole thing. She snatched the soda cans away from Aaron and give him a good scolding.
Later in the day, we stopped at a shop that made baskets. In front of the store was a giant picnic basket for sale. It was so huge, Aaron could have crawled inside of it.
Aaron wanted Mom to buy the giant basket, but she refused. That set Aaron off again. He started yelling and screaming about the basket. Mom had reached her limit. She got in Aaron’s face and yelled, “I’ve had with you! I am changing my name. It’s not Mom or Rita anymore and I am leaving you here.”
Mom spun around and started walking away from Aaron. I was standing there in shock and wondering if she would come back for me.
Aaron tried calling out to her, but she didn’t respond. Aaron bellowed out, “Hey lady with the brown coat and the grey streak in your hair!”
Mom’s face was about to turn scarlet red. She was so angry, I expected to see smoke coming from her ears and nostrils. She grabbed ahold of Aaron and started walking away with him, without saying a word.
In spite of everything that happened that day, Mom still loved her son. The next day, Aaron was on the plane with us, instead of being left in the Black Forrest to be raised by wild animals.
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.
Be your own hero by getting ready for emergencies. Collect and store these ten essential items.
- Non-perishable food
- Manual can opener
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Personal car items
- Important documents
Source: Alabama Department of Public Health, Emergency Preparedness Handbook