About Abe

hello…it’s Tina, the author of this blog.  The one who hasn’t posted a word in almost two months.  I’m sneaking back in, wishing nobody had realized I was gone.  I know I’ve stayed away too long because I’ve forgotten how to write.  My confidence is gone; I barely know how to put my thoughts into sentences.  I can’t hear my voice anymore and it probably shows.

I am sorry, but I’m not without excuse.  We buried my oldest brother, Abe, on September 1.  He died on my brother Pete’s birthday, August 28, after fighting cancer for three years.  He was fifty-three.  It will take time to shake and sift memories of Abe into their proper place in my mind.  At the forefront is a corpse in a black suit, his face caked with makeup to disguise the yellow, jaundiced skin, his handsome mouth pursed unnaturally by a funeral home staffer who probably never saw Abe alive, much less happy.  Next I see a tall, thin, unsmiling man.  His hands tremble and his mouth won’t form words but his haunted eyes stare into mine with a thousand questions I can’t answer.  I don’t say,

“Everything’s going to be alright.”

To an anxious spirit, those words translate

“I can’t relate to the depth of misery you feel in this moment because I have no idea how horrible it is.”

But that’s not who Abe was, not really.  Before he was diagnosed with cancer, the real Abe found something to grin about in almost everything and his zany sense of humour most often found a target in himself.  He had a hearty appetite (especially for fried chicken) and it began to show even on his tall frame.  I remember him disappearing into the bathroom to weigh himself.  Far from getting upset or embarrassed by the number on the scale, he emerged from the bathroom with his chest and chin stuck out, and with a defiant sparkle in his eye, he declared his mass to consist of “Two hundred pounds of SOLID ROCK.”

The real Abe had an intense, excitable personality that made him funny even when he was completely in earnest, or rather, his earnestness made him funny.  Words like “sort of”, “so-so” and “alright” rarely found their way into his vocabulary.  Events in Abe’s world were “humongous”; they happened “quick as lightning” and he aired the telling of them with such wide eyes and expansive gestures that you were without a doubt that they left him utterly “a-MAZED”.

That’s the man I want to remember when I hear his name.  Until then, it is enough that whatever he saw in the moment before he took his last breath (and it was invisible to everyone else in the room), it caused his face to light up in a way that no one had seen since his diagnosis three years ago.  It is enough that after all the pain and horror, God showed up, which proves that he’d never once left Abe’s side, even when Abe felt like God’s grace could never extend to someone as bad as he had been.

Some people cry beautifully.  Teardrops quiver on a lash, then spill down a dewy cheek as a soft sigh breaks from trembling lips.  Not me.  My face turns red like a tomato and my eyes go bloodshot.  My forehead slides into the furrow between my eyes and my whole face crumples like the soggy kleenexs filling up my purse.  My grief is not even spared the disgrace of crying ugly.  I’m glad crying is short-lived in Heaven;  “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).

I will find joy in the heart, with you I will reach Heaven, there will be peace.

I will find joy in the heart, with you I will reach Heaven, there will be peace.

I will find joy in the heart, with you I will reach Heaven, with you I will see a new world.

– “Solo Con Te” by Sarah Brightman   http:www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dvu90AwCem





6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Arlene Friesen on September 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Tina, I don’t think I knew your brother but you have described him beautifully. Thank you for sharing the pain so eloquently and reminding us to pray for you.


  2. Posted by Ellie Kendrick on September 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    What an incredible tribute to your brother. What a great way to remember him.


  3. Posted by Anne Marie on September 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Tina, your words have moved me to tears. Thank you for your post. I will continue to pray for you.


  4. Thank you Arlene, Ellie and Anne Marie.


  5. 😥 you did a great job honouring your brother! hugs he will be remembered


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