A year ago today, I said goodbye to my brother. His wife tried to wake him for church that morning, but he had already left, having died in his sleep. Ron was 48.
I have to admit, I didn't know Ron very well. I'm not sure many people did. He had a big heart and a warm personality, he laughed heartily and he never lost that child-like wonder and excitement of his youth. In fact, you should have seen him at Christmas. You could give the guy a Bic pen and he would have reacted with unbounded joy. As long as it was something to unwrap.
But he had opportunities along the way he never seemed to fully seize and a desire to learn he never seemed willing enough to allow himself to nurture. He had good jobs and left them, had money sometimes and spent it quickly.
It would have been easy to describe Ron as lacking ambition or self-confidence, but I don't think so now. I think his was a soul that never felt completely at home in this life. Everyone's heard the old chestnut about not feeling comfortable in one's own skin, and I think Ron exemplified the saying. No matter where he looked or what he tried to do, it was like putting on a poorly tailored suit. The sleeves were always too long or the pants cut too high.
I don't think Ron in any way hastened his own death. But neither do I think he feared dying. He was ready when the time came. And for Ron, that time came sooner than later.
Ron's last days on earth were spent with his son and his grandson - fishing. They were happy times for all of them and I'm glad for that. Ron loved fishing, and he loved his son, and he loved his grandson. Maybe, if only for the last week he was here, Ron felt like the old suit fit him.