Monday, March 16, 2015


I knew my husband’s brother only a brief moment in time. He was this lovely, soft-spoken, forward-thinking United Methodist pastor who believed everyone would be saved in the end, because he believed that is the kind of God we love. When he first knew he would not survive the invasive cancer, he called my husband and we immediately went to Kansas. That first day we were there, he gave us a gift. It was quite unexpected. My husband and I had been married only one year. We had unfortunate other marriages that ended in other tragedies of one sort or another. We’d both made mistakes, acknowledged those mistakes, worked hard to make those mistakes work, failed, grieved and tried to move forward. That first day, as we traveled with Doug and his wife Joyce to financial planners, banks, etc., to “get things in order,” Doug gave us the gift. He said to Bob, “This time, you got it right!” The summer before that gift, Doug and Joyce visited our home. Doug woke early mornings before the rest of us opened our eyes. He, an inveterate hiker, walked our woods, swam in our pool, embraced the nature that isn’t readily available in Kansas City. One morning, he and Bob stood staring out the kitchen window at something happening on the pond. I snapped a photo. “Brothers Before the Storm” is based on that original photo, though it isn’t the same. It doesn’t have pots and pans hanging in the background. They both don’t wear t-shirts. My husband’s long lost mustache is gone. But it does, I believe, illustrate what happened then, what happened later. These men loved each other and were best friends. They still are. My husband (in the foreground) often says his brother pulled him from the muck. He alludes to a story of when he was stuck in the mud in a field in his rubber galoshes when he was 4 years old, and his brother, age 8, rescued him. But that wasn't the only rescue he performed.

                                          "Brothers Before the Storm" oil on linen, 24 x 18