It’s often said that you don’t fully appreciate something or someone until they’re gone. With the sudden loss of my younger brother Tim in a senseless shooting, I can attest to that statement. He has always been my best friend. I have occasional pangs of regret that I didn’t talk to him more these past few years, that I didn’t take full advantage of his company, but mostly I just watch bittersweet memories of him run across my line of sight, one after the other. Even if I had known what was coming, I don’t think I could have ever fully appreciated Tim. And I like it that way. In the weeks after Tim’s passing, I have heard new stories of his generosity and his love for people that deepen my knowledge of him and give me joy amidst the pain of his loss. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like being able to appreciate Tim the more I learn about him, with each story shared. I want to hear more about Tim, I want to know my brother more. I am so thankful for those people who have taken the time to share with me and the rest of the family how Tim impacted their lives.
Tim wasn’t perfect. He had his share of faults like everyone else, but he did take more time than me to smell the proverbial roses. His unexpected death has caused me to step back and reassess my approach to life, my gratitude for life. I would give almost anything to have my brother back, but I am thankful in a way that this wake-up call occurred now, and not in my golden years. Suddenly, the threat of HOA hate mail because of my overgrown lawn loses some of its significance. I am less concerned that a patient’s ramblings will force me to hit rush hour traffic. Forgetting to haul the garbage can to the street for the weekly pick-up doesn’t elicit the same level of self-reproach. I have talked to my parents and siblings more in the last 3 weeks than I would have otherwise in 3 months. Life seems more precious now, and Tim would want it to be that way for us. He would want his death to have that effect on our lives because that was how he liked to live.
I still find myself wading back into the fast-paced normalcy of life, and an hour or a day or a week later, coming to, and remembering what I had so quickly forgotten about life’s preciousness.
January 19, 1983 - July 28, 2015