As many of you know, my precious warrior Eddie passed away on July 11. Since I’m still in grief mode, I’d like to share this piece I created for my brother’s funeral. Seems like it took forever to gather my scattered and torn thoughts, but here goes:
“Everyone here has a treasured memory, or more, of Eddie and his unique place in their lives, and these are only a few of mine because there are too many to mention.
Not all of them were pretty. Some are linked with being raised in a dysfunctional family living in a small town where everyone knew your business and it sure wasn’t easy being the sister of a kid who barked at my friends and occasionally even bit them.
Most of the memories I cherish stem from the times he and I were simply brother and sister, and not me acting as the guardian or him as the protected. The times when we made faces on the Mac monitor or played Lady Gaga videos so he could dance. On the occasions when I took him to dinner, and he thought it was acceptable to tell our female servers how beautiful they were while trying to pat them on the butt.
We also called him Casanova.
I also cherish our childhood when we simply ran around in the woods playing with cap guns or went to our neighbor’s house for watermelon parties and to roast marshmallows.
I’m privileged to have had this pure soul to care for, and although I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what was in Eddie’s mind, one can only guess the enormous challenges he faced on a daily basis.
Eddie loved the Easter bunny and Santa Claus and Smokey the Bear, King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, and Mr. Ed, the talking horse, along with Cowboy and Indian movies. He was as innocent as a person could be and had a rare conception of time during his daily routines. Like most of us, he didn’t like diversions or going to what he called “work” at the day program. In fact, one of his happiest days ever was when I advocated his retirement from the day program so he could stay home and watch his favorite programs which also included Animal Planet.
Regarding the way he measured time was vastly different than the way the rest of us do – the only way I can explain his conception of time was how it fell between holidays and his birthday, year after year. Once his birthday in March was over, he was asking what was happening for Easter. When he was younger, he wanted to know when he could visit our mother or me, or both, and so on until October when it was time for Halloween. Thanksgiving was important to him when he was able to eat, but Easter, Christmas, and Santa Claus were his all-time super favorites –
Eddie stuck to the same topics of conversation when we talked on the phone or during a visit and it never differed, and he had a memory that was better than most. Some of what remained in his mind wasn’t very pleasant, but sometimes we were able to laugh at situations or people who he remembered with the special humor he was known for.
Sometimes our chats were serious, like when my brother who is a paster visited Eddie, and inspired me to continue where he left off. That Eddie talked about baby Jesus, Heaven and God were blessings that I hope were comforting to him –
The night before he died, we sang Christmas carols about baby Jesus, sang hymns about Jesus too, and even though his voice was raspy and failing, and my voice is terrible, he mimed the words while I whispered the tunes.
After my children and I left the hospital during the ride home, I felt comforted knowing Eddie’s spirit was probably still in that hospital room even though he’d died half an hour prior, and that he was smiling at us during his journey to heaven, much like he is now.
Here’s the kicker – the one question he’d always ask whenever we talked on the phone or in person – and that one I will miss the most is, “What’s my favorite dog?”
About a year and a half ago, I wrote a nonfiction book about what it was like to be raised with a special needs sibling in the 60’s when there weren’t any support organizations or groups – in those days, probably around the 1950s there weren’t even any specialty physicians to tell my parents Eddie’s diagnosis. Anyhow, the book was well received by those who were interested in such a topic, and was a finalist in the RONE AWARDS in 2021.
The book is available in all venues and on sale for 99 cents. https://books2read.com/u/mVaNqM
Whew, let’s get to some comic relief, shall we? One of our Cute But Crazy Collections hit the Amazon Best Seller List AGAIN today, and we couldn’t be happier! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09GYKGCGM
OR – Why not grab all four of these awesome, bestselling collections for beach reads, weekend laughter, and some R&R on a rainy day? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085RWNNWH
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A USA Today, Award-Winning Author, Susan Jean Ricci is best known for her Cindy’s Crusades Series, starring the hilarious duo Cindy and Jay DeMatteo. These characters were first introduced in the multi-award winning novel Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, and return to entertain you in its sequel The Sugar Ticket. Look for the soon to be published, and final saga Don’t Bruise the Bananas 2020. Cindy and Jay’s mischief making lives on in these shorts: A Sweet Snafu, Christmas With Niagara, His Sacred Vow, Passion’s Secret Ingredient, and Turning up the Heat. Please also consider the other stand alone works of fiction and short stories in Ms. Ricci’s collection, with more to come later this year.
A member of the RWA, The Authors’ Billboard, and the Independent Authors’ Network, several of Ms. Ricci’s titles have been recognized as the Women’s Outstanding Fiction Winner in the IAN 2016 and as IAN finalists in 2017, 2018, 2019.