I’m not talking about some current conspiracy theory of an authority figure invading our privacy.
I’m talking about angels.
Last Friday, my oldest brother, Matthew, died of heart failure.
Matthew was 10 years older than me and we didn’t have much in common. In fact, my last conversation with him didn’t go well.
You see, I tried one last tough-love approach to get him to change his ways. It wasn’t so much a conversation as it was giving him a piece of my mind.
“I know, Peter. It’s because you love me and I love you too.”
He already had peace of mind. I believe he was ready to die. I believe he was done with his purpose here on Earth.
As I walked out of his hospital room, I knew the last time I would see him would be today, at the celebration of his life with my family.
I am doing my best to remember the good times:
As a young boy, he taught me how to build model airplanes. And he never got mad when I threw them out a 2nd-story window to see if the would fly.
We enjoyed the hobby of model rockets. We’d have our space-fun, TOGETHER, at the ball fields of JFK junior high (kind of appropriate, don’t you think?)
I remember him taking me out of grammar school early one one day. As I walked down the hall, I remember him laughing with his best friend, Chuck, who had the biggest laugh I have ever heard. Not exactly the kind of commotion that the nuns of St. Joseph School wanted to hear.
On occasion, I’d be his sidekick at the shooting range. The first gun I ever shot was a .44 caliber – black powder. I mean we are talking about lead ball and everything! We’re talking Dirty Harry kind of scary, but oh what FUN.
He paid me a surprise visit during my freshman year of college. He took me out to dinner and bought me a beer. A beer with my big brother. He dropped me off and gave me $10. “I know it’s not much.” In reality, it was probably all he had and it meant VERY much to me.
To me, Matthew was like the Little Drummer Boy. Pardon the cliche, but he marched to the beat of his own drum. He was different and unconventional. He had no material “gifts to bring” but let me tell you, he had a huge heart.
Ironically, it was his physical heart that gave out on him at the age of 56.
I have no doubt that he will continue to watch over me, continue to play his drum, and give me his heart.
Rest In Peace, Matthew.
Your Little Brother,
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.
photo credit: Frederic B. Allyn III