Friday, November 8, 2013

Photo A Day, Day 8: Someone I Miss

The most obvious choices for the subject “someone I miss” would be my parents. My dad passed away in 2003 and my mom in 2011, and I still miss them every single day. Every once in a while there’s some event that makes me miss them so much my heart breaks all over again. For my dad, the worst was my wedding day when he wasn’t there to walk me down the aisle. For my mom, it was the day my daughter was born and my mom never got to meet her. But there are small moments every day when I think about how much I wish I could talk to them or show them something. I miss my mom every time I make something from one of her recipes. I miss my dad every time I fix something around the house. They are definitely the people that I miss most in the world.

But I decided on a different subject today. The “someone I miss” is someone that I miss not only because he left this life too soon, but because he left it before I really got a chance to know him as well as I would have liked: my late brother-in-law, Glen. The third anniversary of his death was just a few weeks ago, and looking back over photographs of him and his family brought to mind once again what a special person he was.

The first Thanksgiving I ever spent with my husband, before we were married or even engaged, we spent at Glen’s home. Despite having met me only briefly prior to the holiday, he and his wife welcomed me as family (I’m pretty sure that by the end of the visit they knew that I was going to be family, and soon, but they didn’t know at the start). Glen was cultured and intelligent and charming and witty and could very easily have made me feel like a country bumpkin, but his kind and gentle manner put me completely at ease.

Because he and his family lived four hours away, we weren’t able to get together as often as either family would have liked. But whenever we did get together, the stories flowed freely: funny childhood stories, funny college tales, stories of both brothers as young husbands and fathers. Often a tale was re-told, but it was somehow funnier and more interesting with every telling. My husband's whole family, and Glen in particular, had the gift of storytelling and they work hard to out-do each other, which results in a very entertaining time for the listener. I loved sitting back at family gatherings and listening to familiar tales grow in scale and humor over the months and years until they became the stuff of family legend.

And I also loved the close friendship that Glen and my husband shared. We often joked that Herb was Frasier Crane and Glen was Niles Crane. Like the Cranes, they shared a love for the finer things in life, particularly good food and good wine. Both pairs of brothers dressed well, although the younger in both cases had a marked preferences for fine European fashion and hand-tailored clothing and shoes. Like Frasier and Niles, there was often a good-natured one-upsmanship at play. And, like Frasier and Niles, despite occasional needling, each brother took a genuine pride in the success and happiness of the other. One of my favorite photos of Glen, which is also one of my favorite photos from my wedding, shows that wonderful camaraderie and happiness as clear as day.

I miss you, Glen. We all do.

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