You’ll have to forgive the bastardization of that quote…and that particular pun as it relates to said quote. You were a sucker for a good toast and you have to admit – this toast is pretty damn solid.
It’s been over a year since I’ve written anything. First, we lost you. Then I lost my grandfather; I spent several months just hollowed out. If I’m being honest, I still don’t feel like me. Not the me that was before, and I’m still struggling to cope with this new skin. You missed a lot this year; things you would have had a lot of opinions about. Movies. Books. President Donald Trump. I know that last one tickles your black humor funny bone, so I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself.
All better? Okay.
The boys are doing as well as can be expected. We have good days and bad. J.R. has…settled into himself more. He still spreads himself in a way that would annoy you to no end, but he is figuring out how to slow down. Make time. Be with people. He’s getting married – to someone you would have actually liked for a change.
Geoff is Geoff. As loveable as ever, as solid as a mountain, and happy in a way that warms me down to my bones.
You used to worry about Rocko, but he was always stronger than any of us gave him credit for. He’s figuring everything out just fine; you’d be really proud of him. Getting married in June. He’s talked me into a graphic novel collaboration that has me drawing frantically to improve on my own inadequacies.
Ortega has the kids, a new girlfriend that seems pretty great, and a fitness regiment that makes the entire planet resent his dedication.
As for me – where to start? Kid 1 is growing up beautifully. She’s nearly halfway to 4-years-old now and constantly reminding me that the world isn’t all bad and that I should do everything I can to make it better. I’ve started grad school, which I regret – mostly because the few scraps of free time I had to myself are now cast into the ravenous maw of academia. I keep telling myself it’s only temporary. Oh, and Kid 2 – a boy this time – is due in August. Lauren is beautiful and graceful and only Hulks out as a batshit crazy pregnant lady once in a while.
For the most part, life is good; it feels much as it was when you were alive, but not around. You’re always near my thoughts. Always in my heart. I miss you. I love you. But I haven’t read a book without feeling your loss. When I smoke my pipe or sit next to a piece of fire, it’s colder than it should be. I’ve been reading over the scraps of stories you sent me over the years. You were talented, and it frustrates me that you constantly underestimated your value. Both to yourself and to those of us who love you. I cherish the piece of you that remains to us, but it’s not enough. It will never be enough.
Happy birthday, Brother.