My Brother

As I headed to Target today to brave the masses, I started thinking about my brother.  For those who aren’t aware, he passed away last November from bone and lung cancer.

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He used to say some of the most profound things to me.  Completely out of nowhere.  One night when he had come over to visit, he looked at me and said, “I still find it hard to accept that I can eat a gallon of ice cream for dinner if I want.”  Because he was an adult now, and adults get to do what they want.  Nevermind that he was almost 30.  😀

My brother, sister, and I all used to work at the same place (my sister and I were typesetters and my brother was the computer programmer/tech guy).  Sis and I were hanging out in the back room with him for a little break, and he looked at us and said, “Just think… if a bomb went off right now, Mom would be childless.”  Okay, a little dark, but still… things that make you go hmmm…

And the things he used to do to me when I was itty bitty little, like 5 years old.  One time when I wouldn’t leave him and his friend alone, he found something resembling a coat hook in the carport and hung me up by my underwear to get me out of his hair.  He got into a bit of trouble for that.

And once when my sister and I were sleeping in a camp bed on the floor, he put tuna fish in our ears and let loose 6 hungry kittens.  He kind of got in trouble for that too… after my mother stopped laughing.

Here he is teaching my cat Zeus to read the newspaper shortly before Christmas dinner in 2000:

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He also was the first to teach me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  It was a lesson I learned well, way before I had ever heard of the book.  And, true story, it’s all small stuff.

Yet, at the same time, it’s the little things that really matter in life, isn’t it.  Such as a hug.  Or a kind word.  Or a smile.  Or 5 minutes of your time.

In January, I ran my first race of the year in his memory:

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My sister-in-law told me to look for a blue butterfly while in Maui as that would be a sign from Kris.  I saw one blue butterfly the whole entire 7 days we were there… at mile 11… and anyone who runs half-marathons (as opposed to full-out marathons) knows the emotional breakdown happening at mile 11.  I also saw a rainbow… on his 16th wedding anniversary.

So tell me, who have you hugged today?

51 thoughts on “My Brother

  1. wanderwolf

    Paula… I haven’t hugged anyone yet (may be a bit difficult, since my family is all in a Florida), but I’m definitely thinking of my brother right now and the fact that I better tell him how much I love him, even if he annoys me sometimes. Thanks for the reminder, and for sharing some sides of your brother with us.
    Reading about the butterfly made goosebumps rise up on my arms. Beautiful hope and connection.

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thank you Dorothea! And thank you for getting my message, :D! I never knew my brother was sick as he didn’t tell anyone, and he didn’t know he was sick until 3 weeks before he died, so it was literally one of those situations where they’re here today, gone tomorrow. The blue butterfly was pretty special, especially as I was cussing him from mile 5 to mile 10 because it got so freaking hot, lol! The sighting of the butterfly pulled me to the finish line, 😀

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      1. neveradullbling Post author

        Checking in on you after what happened today in Berlin. Are you okay? Or are you on your way home yet? And I can’t access your sites! Send me an email if you like, :D, neveradullbling (at) gmail.com, but let me know you’re okay. Because I worry, lol.

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  2. Chocolaterunsjudy

    Such a sweet tribute to your brother, Paula. You have definitely had a very tough year.

    My brother was pretty mischievous as a kid but I do believe your brother has him beat! I totally believe in signs, though, and that blue butterfly is an awesome one & I’m sure you will always cherish that memory.

    BTW, we are thinking maybe we need to do WA state this year . . . maybe we could somehow plan something together!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thanks Judy! Yes, it was a special trip indeed!
      And sounds like a great plan with you coming to WA! Just let me know what you’re thinking and which part of the year! My next race is going to be in April in Reno, so I won’t do Sammamish again (the beautiful flat one in March), but James is doing it. Other than that, I don’t think we have next year figured out yet, haha!

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      1. Chocolaterunsjudy

        Since I have a half in NOLA at the end of March, it won’t be then.

        Don’t really know when or where yet (open to suggestion). Probably in May, but could be June. Not the end of May, I think my brother will be back in town then.

        I’ll be looking around. 🙂 Trying to find something not too hilly!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Janet wilson

    No hugs but the sweetest thing the toddlers in the pool for their lesson & singing! Made me smile. A hug works wonders & memories at this time of year. Jx

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  4. lynne hoareau

    Paula, this is a lovely post. It sounds like your brother was a total fun guy and someone people would want to be friends with. I am sorry for your loss. You have some beautiful memories , hold onto them.
    I have hugged my daughter today and all of my cats and dogs. I have told my brother who lives in Connecticut I love him, as I always do every few days when we speak on the phone. I think as I have got older, and lost loved ones, it has made me realize how precious life is and how important it is to tell our loved ones we love them. Hugs my friend x

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thank you so much Lynne! Yeah, my brother was something else, that’s for sure, lol!

      Unfortunately I think it’s the age thing that makes us grow wiser in realizing just how precious life and loved ones are, and then the loss contributes as well. So happy to hear that you reach out to your loved ones regularly! It makes for a happy heart!! And big hugs to you right back!! xoxo

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  5. mawil1

    How sad to lose your brother so young. Happy memories though, that counts for alot😊 Hugs? Every day from hubs and son 😊😊 we hug each other a lot, though we tend not to hug people outside the family! We are quite reserved that way!!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Aww, thanks Julie. Yes, it was a shock to lose him. And I’m happy to hear you hug your family all the time! We always have special family hugs where the cat even insists he needs to be included, lol!

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  6. Anna Cottage

    I am so sorry for your loss poppet, you are still raw, its only been a year. He sounded like a really lovely Brother, who loved you very much. It is not easy to lose someone you love, November neary coming up to Christmas makes it hard. I lost my Husband December 15, 1994, our Sons were only young and the youngest had his birthday 4 days after his Daddy died. My Husband was 30 years older than me, but December 15 is still tough even after all these years. You take care, how lucky you were to have such a loving Brother, you appear to come from a very caring family. Take care poppet.

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Oh, thank you so much for the very kind words! And I’m so very sorry for your loss, and your sons, and can’t imagine how hard it must have been for them growing up without their father. I appreciate you telling me your story as I realize I really am fortunate. Thank you and God bless. 🙂

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  7. Tasha

    This was extremely touching, Paula. My brother passed away in 2006 and his son (as you already know) died the other day. Being gone from this life certainly doesn’t mean being forgotten. Their love and influence lives on. Your brother sounds like quite the jokester!!

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  8. Lady G

    Paula:
    I have to say that you are one of the most resilient people that I ‘know.’ You have been through so much-yet you keep going with elegance and grace.
    I really do admire you Paula 🙂
    A big hug to you!
    BTW, your brother sounds like my brother (LOL)
    But tuna in your ears with cats??
    Boy was he a good trickster!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      That is so sweet and wonderful for you to say! Thank you!
      And yes, that brother of mine, my word the things he used to do to me! One story I left out (unfortunately), he wired some red lights that looked like beady little eyes on the outside of my bedroom window… when I saw them, I thought I had actually seen the devil (I was jumping on the bed when I saw them, so I was up to no good). I didn’t find out until years later that it was him… he was an electronic genius, so all sorts of stuff happened without explanation, lol!! Brothers! You gotta love ’em!! 😛

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  9. The Happy Healthy Kiwi

    He sounds like he was a great guy. I remember you talking about the blue butterfly earlier in the year and thinking about how lovely that was. Today I have hugged no one. I started work early and both my boys were sound asleep when I left home. I did however kiss both their foreheads and whispered to them that I love them. Can’t leave without some sort of goodbye 🙂

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