Soldier rest! thy warfare o'er...

Soldier rest! thy warfare o'er, Sleep the sleep thast knows not breaking, Dream of battled fields no more, Days of danger, nights of waking.

Sir Walter Scott

My only brother, my only sibling, died a year ago. He was no longer in the military, had been discharged years ago, but had his own battles to fight for many, many years. It just happened to be Memorial Day weekend when he fell through the cracks of the VA Medical System. No offense to any ER nurses or docs. It was one of those bad alignment of the stars when everything that can go wrong, goes wrong.

His ashes are scattered along the Tidal Pools off Highway 1 near Half Moon Bay among the sea stars, the red albalone, the anenomes, the harbor seals... I do believe he is peaceful there. It's a rugged, beautiful, plentiful piece of the earth. I can see why he liked to go there to talk to God. God feels present along that rocky coastline with a vigorous and masculine force, yet the intertidal landscape itself is very fragile. Each retreat of the tides creating ocean worlds in miniature. Survival literally depending on the ablility to cling to life.

I'd like to tell him again how sorry I am that I was working that weekend and the holiday. I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention when my mother told me he'd been to the ER for pancreatitis. He'd been sent back home. I thought he was okay. I thought this was something that could wait until my stretch of work was over. My husband and I still cleaning out his mother's home after her recent death. Everything had to be out by the end of the month. We had just walked through the door after sending off the last of the boxes and bags of clothes to St. Vincent de Paul's when we got the call that my brother had been found dead in his apartment.

"If I could have used my hands to pick you up and make you stand
Would you still have fallen"--Holly Williams

I'm sorry I'm too late. Rest in peace, Tommy.
Requiscat in Pace


  1. Lovely tribute to your Tommy. I believe we all have regrets about times that we didn't act with enough urgency in the face of something that would change our lives, but I like to believe there's a deeper wisdom that connects us, that understands and forgives. We have to forgive ourselves.

    The image you've chosen to accompany your words is exquisitely appropriate.

  2. We all do the best we can, and you did your best, I am sure he knows that. Big hugs today.

  3. It is our fondest hope (and our deepest nightmare), believing that if we'd been there at a certain moment in time, things would have ended differently.

    Life, fate, faith, the people we love--all so complicated.

    Peace on the journey...


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