grinninfoole: (strangelove)
[personal profile] grinninfoole
At my brother's memorial service, I lined up five other people (my uncle, an old flame of MU's, Hannah-Belle Goulet, a long-time family friend who used to be our neighbor, and [ profile] millari) to share their memories of him before I got up to speak. I wanted to keep things moving because Mom gets tired easily, and I wanted to allow everyone else to say their piece, so I kept things simple. (Also, I wasn't sure quite what to say. It's tough for people who have lived in the valley their whole lives to properly describe the mountain to outsiders.)

Mom tells me that, when I was just a baby, Dave used to sit with me for hours, keeping me company, reading me stories, and just enjoying my presence. Forty-five years together, and I still don’t understand what that was about.

But, I suppose it worked both ways. When I was five and Dave was ten, Mom started to read him the Hobbit, and I was desperate to be included. Incredible as it may sound, I not only promised to be quiet and listen, I actually did it. As you may know, the Tolkien has had a profound influence on my life, so that was a major life decision for me—one of my first.

Looking back, though, I can see that it was a big deal for my quiet, shy, gentle brother, too. Bilbo Baggins became a role-model for him, too, even if he didn’t explicitly say so. Thus, I say goodbye to my brother as Thorin Oakenshield on his deathbed bade farewell to Bilbo:

“There is more of you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!”

At the reception, following my brother's request, we sang Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. About 100 people turned up, some of them quite unexpected, like the Battler, whom I hadn't seen in 20 years; or Suave and Sydneycat, who both made the drive from the valley; millari's parents; many of the people who have been providing home health care; people from MU's school days, both old & recent. Thanks especially to Millari for returning from Germany for a week.


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July 2017


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