August 25, 2015 - "The Last Words Spoken"
I know the exact date and time that I last saw and spoke with my brother: Sunday, January 11th at exactly 7:18PM.
How do I know?
My camera told me.
It was the night of my niece’s 18th Birthday Party. There were so many people and things were so hectic that I hadn't had a chance to really sit with him and talk like we usually would at a family gathering.
As I was leaving the restaurant, Peter came out to talk to me. I was in the middle of taking photos of the Christmas lights that were in the tree by the entrance. We talked about getting together soon to sit down and work on getting my photos printed and to go over framing ideas and such so he could display and sell them in his gallery. He promised we would get together soon. We hugged and said "Love you, Bro" to each other... then he turned and went back into the restaurant and I turned and snapped one last photo of the Christmas lights.
It was that last photo which I ended up using for my "365 Project” entry that day. I had hugged him just a few seconds before pressing the shutter. The camera marked the time of the shot: 7:18:57PM.
Sunday, January 11, 2015 at exactly 7:18PM. That was the last time I ever got to hug my brother and tell him that I loved him. If I knew that it would be that way I would have held on much tighter and much longer... and said so much more.
In the weeks that followed we texted and messaged each other quite a few times... trying to set things up for getting together to get the whole photo thing moving along… but that’s all there was… just texts and messages. I never heard his voice again after 7:18PM on January 11th. I distinctly remember that moment though… and I am grateful that the last words we spoke to each other included “Love you, Bro”.
And then he was gone… and every aspect of our lives changed forever.
At first I was extremely angry with God… upset that He took my brother away from us.
Now… I find myself constantly thanking God for blessing us with the gift of having had Peter in our lives… and for the lessons learned since his passing.
One of those lessons I've learned is that life can be very short and ANYTHING can happen. The best thing we can do in this world is to view each and every day as a blessing and a gift.
Another lesson I’ve learned is just how much we need one another.
Almost five months have passed and, although Peter has ALWAYS been a tremendous influence in my life, I’m finding that he has become an even bigger part of who I am these days than he ever was before.
In some ways it’s just little things… little behaviors and interests of his that have become part of my life. Take watches, for example. I’ve always had a thing for watches… but now my thing for watches has become much more in line with Peter’s thing for watches - which bordered on addiction. I cannot go past a jewelry case without looking at the watches. My wish list on Amazon currently has almost two dozen watches on it - as well as a watch repair kit. Then there’s the listings for watches on eBay that I’m keeping track of. If we're out someplace and there's time to kill, I'll whip out my iPhone and start looking at watches. I already know exactly which one will be my next… once money becomes available, that is.
But the whole “watch thing” is incredibly small in the great big scheme of things.There are much larger, more important, more meaningful ways in which he has influenced and changed my life these last five months. I cannot explain them… I just know that they are there and that they come from him. My wife sees them as well… and points them out to me from time to time.
My brother is constantly with me in one way or another.
And for that I will be forever grateful.
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