I have two brothers and three sisters. I generally only speak about the Manny because he's my biological brother and I can get away with it. The others are "step-siblings." I have never lived with any of them. I've actually had five other step-siblings in my life at one point or another. Some were nice, some not very nice at all, those marriages did not last. I did not have a normal childhood, but I'm ok with that now. Families are made in all different ways, these non biological siblings have all been in my life for quite sometime now and I love them. I love my nieces.
Last week I lost my stepbrother. I first met him when I was six, on a boat. The Manny kept calling him Bud. So that's what I call him here since I don't disclose names on this blog. Bud was like no one I have ever met. He was very quiet, very kind, and lived more in 37 years than most people can even hope to live in their whole lives, had adventures that most only read about. He was a great skier, snowboarder, and mountaineer. He was amazing to watch on a mountain. He died doing something that his soul was meant to do. Sometimes it is hard for people to understand that others put themselves in harms way for enjoyment, it is hard to explain the lure of the mountains...of the west unless that stirs within you. He was happiest out in the mountains, he was the real thing not some weekend warrior who shops at REI and then declares himself a hiker. He is a legend in the area.
It has been very difficult to wrap my brain around this reality, to watch my stepdad and mom in so much pain, to explain what happened to the boy who really looked up to his Uncle. I have been doing lots of self reflection, which I suppose is quite normal. Bud was very true to his ideals and lived his life like none other. I am not really sure I can say the same about myself. There are things that I love to do, but no longer do for whatever the excuse may be. I have never felt like the typical suburban housewife stay at home mom...yet this is where I find myself day after day. I know something about the lust of the west and the mountains. I wrote once in high school that my soul was born out here, but I never get out into the world as much as my heart desires. If I can take anything from him it is to be true to myself and live life to the absolute fullest. You never know which breath is your last. I'm not squandering mine on trying to make sure everything is perfect, but am going to spend them on living. Life is strange, I am mourning and yet someone I love is in labor right now and I feel joy too.
While we were on our Lampoon's vacation to Europe when I was in high school we went to Scotland. While in Edinburgh we climbed up King Arthur's seat which is a peak on some hills where there is a good view of the surrounding area. My stepdad told us a story once we were on top that when he took Bud there as a child he had to find the highest point and stand on top of it. We are at peace with the way he died because he was at his highest peak, he was on top of it.
Yes I understand that every life must end,
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go,
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love,..
Some folks just have one,
Others they got none,
Stay with me,..
Let’s just breathe.