After my brother’s memorial service, one of his dear friends hugged me and said “and then there was one”. It’s true. Of the family of four that I grew up with, I am the only one still here on earth. My parents passed away within five weeks of one another. And now I have lost Don. It is unfathomable.
In the summer of 2010, Don was enduring chemotherapy and radiation. My mother passed away in late June and my father passed away in late July. Don flew from Los Angeles to Union for the services, but he looked very different the second trip; thinner, his neck burned and swollen. I cannot imagine what it must have been like on a crowded plane for 5 hours, feeling as horrible as he did. As usual, he never complained, always persevered. The next two years we would waver between good and bad news. “We got it! Oh, but it popped up here. Everything is shrinking! But oh wait, it’s on your lungs.” He would always tell you the news, then say “but don’t worry, it will be fine!” So many times I would tell my friends that I could not lose Don. He was not going anywhere! Until one day, I did lose him.
Don and I shared the JOYS of cancer. As a breast cancer survivor, I could relate to his stories of drains and IVs. He would text me after one of my many surgeries with simple words: I’m so sorry. He would try to make me laugh and I would do the same for him. The last time Don and I were together was this past summer at Wild Dunes. We sat at dinner one night and I listened to Don tell a story about the summer between high school and college; I had never heard the story before. I remember wondering how many more stories he had that I had missed over the years and I couldn’t wait to hear more! I will have to wait now, along with the rest of the world who could not wait for the next blog, the next movie, the next script, the next night of just hanging out with him. I miss his stories, I miss him making me laugh. I miss his voice on the phone, his texts, his jokes, his advice. I miss him so very much.
I had 49 years of memories with Don. Playing as kids, fighting as teenagers, laughing as adults, holding hands at our parents’ funerals. So yes, then there was one. I have my father’s wit, my mother’s temper, and my brother’s desire to always make others happy, comfortable and loved. What a blessing he was in my life. For that, I am the lucky “one”!