Not since the loss of my mother some 11 years ago have I felt this type of grief. My brother Brad is gone. So young, so vibrant, so vital to so many of us; his wife Paula, his children and grandson, and my family.
Unc as my children called him, has been a vital part of their lives since the day I brought Beth home from the hospital and he held her for the first time. He was a wonderful Uncle, more like a father at times. He rolled in the floor with squealing children, attended birthdays, weddings and took them on trips.
My granddaughter Dorie loved her Unc Unc and just last week baked up a batch of Christmas cookies for him. Earlier tonight we gathered for a family dinner, just the few of us that where here... Paula, Sara, Frank, me and our children and we broke out that can of cookies and ate a few for Unc Unc .
I cannot at this time fathom my life without him. Regardless of time or distance or even our little spats we were always there for each other. As I gazed upon him today all I could think of was that I needed a hug... he gave good ones, so did our dad. None of that half way, barely touching you hug. No his big ole arms would wrap around you and you knew that this person loved you and the world would fade away.
I called my little brother Boo Boo and he called me Gert. Nicknames that we carried proudly for some 40 plus years. He was named after Boo Boo Bear, Yogi Bear's faithful friend who followed him everywhere. My dad gave me my nickname and I hated it growing up, but grew into and soon learned it was a meaningful sign of love.
To say that I will miss Brad does not even touch what I am feeling. I have lost more than a little brother and a friend... farewell Boo Boo Bear I'll see you in my dreams.