I’ve had a really hard time writing this week. I feel the words in my heart but I can’t seem to get them on paper the way I want to. I’ve had so many different emotions running through my head and body that I can’t seem to keep up with them. It’s like a swirling eddy that couldn’t stop even if it wanted to. It seems to take on a life of its own. So if this is even more jumpy and chaotic than my usual musings, please understand.
Just as Suzi wrote about yesterday, we have been privileged to witness and become a small part of the larger world that my brother so lovingly embraced and the depth of the love and faith shown by his family and friends absolutely astounds and amazes me. He was obviously well loved and his community accepted and loved him just as he did them. That was so obvious by the outpouring of love shown towards him and his family. I could not asked for a more loving family (wife, daughters, grandchildren, sons-in-law) than he has. I feel so privileged to be a part of it too.
Even though these girls (Brenda and Destiny) were not his “flesh and blood”, I know they could not love him more if he were their biological father and vice versa. He loved and treated them as if they were his own because they were. THEY were his daughters. They treated him better than his biological children did. They did not have to accept or love him but they did, with their whole hearts. Science and biology do not make a family. Love and caring and compassion do and his family has that in abundance. All science and biology does is show that you share DNA. Sharing DNA doesn’t make you a family any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.
To jump to another point…I think that death tends to bring out both the worst and best in people. Depending on which type of person you are. I guess it’s sort of like that show No Ordinary Family. I know it’s weird to compare my brother’s death to a TV show but I do have a point. In the show, this family is in a plane crash and the plane crashed into a lake or river or something where these plants grow that give you “super” powers. But what it seems to do is it intensifies what’s already there so if you are a good person at heart, your “super powers” tend to be something good or useful but if you are a bad person at heart, you tend to turn to more like a monster or something evil with your “powers”.
As weird as that may seem, that’s what I think dealing with death does to people. It brings out your strengths or weaknesses and intensifies the type of person you really are. If you are a good person at heart then it shows by how you deal with what you are surrounded with when someone passes. If you are NOT a good person at heart, but maybe greedy and self centered and selfish then you become more so and you tend to take the focus off the person who it should be centered on and try to turn it to yourself. Unfortunately, there are people like that in the world and we have run into a few of them this week.
There are some people who are so selfish and greedy that they seem to be unable to think of anyone but themselves. They are disruptive and egotistical and really don’t care about anyone or anything unless they think they will benefit from it. If the focus shifts from what they think it should be on (themselves) they make a scene to try to turn the attention back to themselves. I, for one, have had it with those types of people.
Times like this are when families need to pull together and forget their differences and maybe even embrace their differences, not focus on how someone else doesn’t do things to suit them. Maybe we can learn a lesson on how other people do things differently than how we do. Maybe we can grow as individuals and figure out that we are all more alike than we think. Just because we don’t do things the same way doesn’t make us any better or worse than the next person. We are just different.
Yes, we all grieve differently and in our own way but we don’t need to be disruptive or disrespectful to achieve that. And just because the focus isn’t directed at us individually that doesn’t mean we are loved any less. It’s just NOT YOUR TIME to be the center of attention. Let it go and move on. You do not have to be the center of everyone’s attention for every single moment of the day for your entire life. And just because everyone doesn’t call you or cater to your every need doesn’t mean you have been slighted. There are bigger things than you that need to be the center of focus right now.
And when you do something grievously wrong, don’t try to blame it on someone else or everyone else. Sometimes you have to accept your own faults and live with them and be the bigger person and apologize for what you have done wrong. Accept the blame when you are wrong. And when you wrong someone else, be a humble enough person to accept that you were wrong and do whatever you can to make up for it. Don’t turn it around and try to blame it on someone else and run from your responsibility. And if someone else is brave enough to point out your faults to you, don’t turn on them. Accept the lesson with humility and grace and learn from it.
That is one of the things that I have learned from my brother and I will try hard to live it. It’s a hard thing to do. Many times he was a very quiet and introspective man. It wasn’t because he didn’t have an opinion or didn’t have something to say. He may have been thinking something that wasn’t positive or upbuilding so instead he chose to remain silent rather than say something bad. Many times in his life I saw him mistreated and I would get angry at the person who wronged him and then at him for not sticking up for himself but he would rather take the brunt of it himself rather than let someone else take the blame. He lived humility and grace. Even those who treated him like dirt still were treated with respect and honor even if they didn’t deserve it.
I hope I can live up to his legacy of not judging people because of what they looked like or where they lived or how they spoke. He had friends from all walks of life and people from all walks of life loved him. He gave people a chance when others wouldn’t. Even some people who didn’t deserve it. And whether it panned out for him or came back to bite him in the butt, he didn’t care… he knew he did the right thing.
I think it’s a great testament to my brother that not only did his wife’s ex-husband come to the memorial, he spoke and publicly thanked Monte for taking up the slack and taking care of his family. That, to me, is a testament to BOTH men’s character. And when his ex-wife’s father also comes to the service and speaks highly of him, well, that also tells you what kind of man he was. Monte, I will try my best to follow your example and be loving, and giving and nonjudgemental. You left some big shoes to fill brother. I just hope I can do it.
I leave you with the link to the slide show that my brother in law “Dirtman” put together for the memorial service. He did a great job. I think it’s a wonderful fitting testament to the loving man my brother was.