Not in Denial But Still a Little Raw...

My brother, Gary, who had long been suffering from the family curse (heart disease & diabetes), died in his sleep on November 24th, 2010.

He was waiting for his friend/ex-wife to come back home with his 2 grown sons and his little sweetheart grand-daughter. He had plans to spend Thanksgiving holidays with them ....but during this long road trip, his family was on, they were called when Gary didn't show up for work.

Though I know Gary wanted to die in his sleep, it doesn't take away the sense of loss his family & friends all felt...how i felt.. somehow cheated of time & words with him.

The following is the eulogy I gave to show a different side to Gary...the child...the young energetic man I knew and came to admire.

Eulogy for my brother (died 11/24/2010):

Thank you all for gathering here to honor and mourn the death of Gary Ikemoto...I still find it strange to say these words because, I've yet to accept them.

When Sonja asked me to do part of the eulogy...the part that reflected my fondest memories of Gary, I realized I didn't have RECENT ones.

As with all families (I guess), we seem to go off in all directions, only seeing each other during rare family gatherings or sad functions like these.

So my fondest memories were of things I learned from Gary when we were kids.

***May I preface here by saying that Gary, as a child, was a bit of a "rag-scallion"...he was the "golden child" of our family...smart, charming, the only male off-spring...HE COULD DO NO WRONG...and nothing bad seem to touch him.

CASE IN POINT: when he got his first bicycle...he had a bad fall & suffered facial laserations...which healed into one of his most endearing features...A ONE_SIDED DIMPLE.
What can I say, he took advantage with his natural charm & singular dimple of many a fine maiden in high school & college... :D

When we were kids, our paternal-grandfather came to visit...he brought both of us equal size mason jars filled with pennies! Gary & I thought we were millionaires...each of us emptying our jars in the middle of our beds and running our fingers thru this "treasure".

Gary then taught me about loans, line of credit...and BALLOON PAYMENTS...and within a week's time he had all my pennies.

I think Gary was in 3rd grade and I was in 2nd... he had his heart broken for the first time by May Chung, his first girlfriend...it was the first time I felt an emotional closeness to Gary.

To ease his pain, he declared one day that he would never marry AND that he would NEVER have children...BUT if he did, he would name them horrible names so they would always hate him for eternity...names like Ezekiel...Jethro...Poindexter.

I joined in with his pledge and for however long it takes to get over a love like May Chung...

We would go along with our day as usual, BUT every once in a while, one or both of us would squeal out "Ezekiel"..."Jethro"..."Poindexter"...and break out laughing with delight.

(OMG Brian [Gary's first born]...you came so close to being a "Poindexter"!)

When life went on and Gary grew into a fine young man & married Sonja & shared Erin and later his own boys Brian & Todd... that "bad name" pouting child was gone & I saw a miracle...the rebirth of "father knows best" played by my brother, Gary...I WAS SO PROUD OF HIM!

I call it a miracle because growing up...we never knew a father who could show love so openly as Gary...this was HIS CREATION...HIS GIFT to his sons.

I know they will miss their father in the moments, days, and years to come...BUT whenever they express their love to their family or others, or when Lily laughs unprovoked...they will all feel their father's legacy & presence.

I love you Gary...you're the best brother I could have asked for.


Erica Lea said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your eulogy about Gary was absolutely beautiful, though, and so touching. Peace be with you.

Ellen said...

thank you erica, you're so kind. i guess it will take a while for me to revisit this entry and not cry like a baby...for now i just seem to have dreams and day dreams of my brother when we were teenagers.

Carapace said...

It really was a beautiful eulogy. Of course you're still deep in grief. Take your time with your family and yourself, this isn't something that's meant to be dealt with instantly- but I hope the grief fades as quickly as it can, and all the best memories stay.

Ellen said...

hi cara...you are of course right about it all. at first i thought i was going to breeze thru this semi-easily, BUT find that i start balling like crazy when i see something that reminds me of him, or overhear a conversation that has the same cadence or phrasology of Gary.

so far i've had 3-4 dreams of us as teenagers or in college...partying, and suddenly he wants me to drive him home...while getting my purse and coat..i turnaround and he's at the opposite end of a huge maze, we both enter, trying to find each other...but we never do.