#SOL17: My Brother


There’s something about a farm and a farmer.  A sense of resiliency.  A sense of pride.  A sense of worth at the end of the day.

The end of the day for my older brother was last Tuesday.  The corn was in the ground.  He laid down to rest.

And our hearts are broken again.

He’s with dad.

He’s with our brother Joe.

He’s with nephew Joe and his wife Ashley.

He’s with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

No doubt, encouraging them to think of his view.  His stories. His love of family.

But our hearts are broken again.

We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye out loud to him.

We didn’t get to talk one last time.

It’s been a tough year.

An aunt,

An uncle,

My godfather (also an uncle)

My nephew

My nephew’s wife

And now my brother.

And our hearts are broken again.

Thank you, my friends, for your love and support.

Thank you, my friends and co-workers for your kind words and offers of assistance.

Thank you again, dear Lynn (and Bruce), for trekking across the state (and do remember that we take TREKS seriously in the town of Riverside).

A salute to farmers everywhere.  The salt of the earth.

The Life of a Farmer


Our stories are many:

Growing up . . . In a family of six kids

Birth order, #2 in the family, BUT the oldest boy

Sharing a bedroom with 2 sisters on one side of the wall and another brother on the boys side

Chores:  milking cows, raising pigs, feeding chickens, planting potatoes, watering small foot high evergreen trees one bucket at a time  . . .

Remembering . . . About age 8, ONLY getting one half of a hamburger when Grandma Ruth took the kids to MacDonalds

In 1970 working ALL the time on the new house and then being chief worker on tearing down the old house

Being 16 when the Mareks got a color TV . . . and the weekend shows were Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan

Chopping up Fran’s knee instead of the cockleburrs in the bean field

Being in the Washington HS Jazz Band when it went to Switzerland

Playing chauffeur and playing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” for his younger brother on the ride to school

Paying his sister $2.00 at least twice a year to wash and wax the outside of his car

Playing ball out by the barn with our double first cousins

Roller skating on the cement in front of the machine shed, hopping the pipe, and completing the skating circle inside

As a prankster:  “Pass the green beans” at dinner to Frank (and it was really asparagus);

Putting baby powder in the vents of Gerard’s car at his wedding.  That car always smelled like baby powder.

Shaking and bouncing up and down on the suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge; and

Complaining about his oldest sister’s “pancakes” – EVERY Saturday night  – and a bit flat!

As an uncle . . .

Making sure the kids always had NOISY toys at Christmas.

Telling 3 year old Neel Chary to eat the chocolate kiss out of the peanut butter blossom and put the rest of the cookie back on the tray at Christmas

Telling the Chary boys to pinch off the frosting on Josh and Amanda’s wedding cake because no one would miss it

Promising to give Evan a horse and then forgetting it until the next time he saw Evan (Fran says “Thanks – for real”)

Being a godparent for Jessica Marie

And our hearts are broken again . . .


Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

27 responses

  1. I am so sorry for your lose. You are in my thoughts.

  2. I’m so very sorry for your loss. This is such a beautiful tribute to him.

    1. Thanks, Aileen. He was well loved and respected!

  3. Fran,
    My heart is breaking for you and your familiy. Thank you for sharing these mini stories of your brother. Too soon.

    1. Julieanne,
      YOu are welcome. Thanks for listening in!

  4. I am sorry to hear this, Fran. Thank you for sharing his life with us here. I wish you and your family peace.

    1. Adrienne,
      You are welcome! So much fun to extend family sharing into our writing family!

  5. My sympathies. A heartfelt tribute.

  6. Fran, loss is hard to bear but you have created a living, breathing tribute for your brother who will live on in your family’s memories. Thanks for sharing a personal event in your life.

    1. Carol,
      You are welcome. This is the perfect community to share family stories!

  7. Fran, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. I, too, lost a brother. And last Friday, I lost my beautiful mother. So I will grieve alongside you. My best wishes and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing this. I am not sure if I’ll be able to share about my mom today…but maybe next Tuesday.

    1. Lanny,
      This post was helpful for me between yesterday’s visitation and today’s funeral. I look forward to hearing about your mother.

      1. Fran, I was able to write something about my mom and published it today. Thank you for your comment.

    2. Lanny, I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you that you might be comforted.

  8. This is too much heartbreak for one year. I love the way you wrote this piece to honor your brother and the life you shared. Prayers for peace, healing, and no more death.

  9. So sorry for your loss. I too wrote of a loss, today, my other friend, Fran’s mother. I do find comfort in having electronic stories to share. I loved meeting your brother today, in words, in video, in photos. Thanks for sharing him. I can tell why your heart feels broken. But such good memories!

    1. Thanks, Sally!
      It was a good way for me to share him . . .

  10. Oh, Fran, I’m so very sorry, my heart hurts for you. I, too, lost my brothers. You’ve written such a beautiful tribute, so full of love. And, yes, there is comfort in writing; I find it so. My prayers and thoughts of with you; may you have peace and be comforted.

    1. Thanks, Alice.
      Still pretty raw.

  11. I am so sorry to hear this, Fran. May all your wonderful memories bring you some solace. Hugs to you.

    1. Thanks, Catherine.

      Many hugs today but virtual one wok too!

  12. This was such a beautiful post. I’m so very sorry for your loss. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. When we lose people we love they never really leave us – they live on forever in our hearts. May all of you wonderful memories help to ease your pain a little bit.

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