Sunday, August 2, 2015

Northwest Reflections: Time Out

Are you having a good summer? Getting out and exploring the great Northwest, or wherever you live?

I've been out hiking a lot this year, and you'll see more hike posts soon (with lots of photos, of course). But a recent family loss has kept me from the blog for a while.

When I got the email that my big brother David had collapsed while on his daily run, but was in the hospital, I didn't immediately understand the inevitable. What I've since learned is that 95 percent of those who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest don't survive. Unfortunately my brother was one of the 95 percent.

This sudden and unexpected, premature loss was an awful shock. An older sibling is someone you've never experienced life without. Of course his two daughters and wife are experiencing this new huge hole in our lives even more intensely.

Sure when we were kids my brother was a brat sometimes (I'm sure it went both ways) and he didn't often pay attention to this little sister who always sought his favor. As someone offering me condolences so aptly said, "Brothers offer such a distinct combination of love and irritation."  

Me and big brother, many moons ago.
But as a man, my brother was sweet, gentle, funny, very intelligent, and kind, beloved by those he managed in his high tech career and, well, pretty much everyone who knew him. As a former employee of his said, "He offered a warm, steady hand and humanism in a chaotic and often sterile working environment."

For me, with both our parents gone, he was my center of gravity, even from afar. 

Born in Seattle and raised in Portland/Seattle, we were the most athletically inclined and active of our five siblings. He backpacked in the Olympic Mountains with his wife, went on field trips around the region for his Geology degree from the University of Washington, was a runner most of his life, and together we bicycled the 200 miles from Seattle to Portland one year for the annual STP

Sister, me, and brother, birdwatching at Deception Pass.

Alas, he skipped town and settled in San Francisco with his family. I joked that he was a geographically desirable sibling.

Now that I'm back in Seattle, it's easy to forget that he's not just hundreds of miles to the south. Instead of California, now he lives forever in our hearts.

So hug your siblings, your kids, your friends, your family, and let them know how important they are to you. Because you just never know what lies ahead.

Anyway, just wanted you to know I'll be back!

Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons.

And remember, every moment is precious.


JoJo said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. Wow. And for his family too. I live in fear of this happening to my husband. I worry constantly about him.

jill said...

Thank you JoJo.

jenny valencourt said...

My sympathy to you and yours. I know your brother will be with you in spirit on future adventures.

jill said...

Thanks for your sympathies Jenny.

Big Sis Anne said...

That photo made me break into tears (again), lovely tribute to David. Yes he could be a brat but he was pretty darn funny even then.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss, Jill.

Katie Truelove said...

I'm so so sorry for the loss of your brother. I know the ache of losing a loved one and I ache with you as you grieve and also celebrate his life.

jill said...

Thank you Katie for your kind words.