(I originally posted this on Facebook, but decided to add it here too.)
I wrote this during the day to try to cope with this news but chose not to make it public until everyone in the family was aware of the news.
My brother died today.
I really don’t know how to deal with the grief I’m feeling. For the last 30 years, we’ve been in a love-hate relationship. We had a lot of ups and downs over the years. But through it all, I still loved him and I hope he knew that.
I’m sitting here reminiscing about how my brother helped my parents and me out a few times by helping me place railroad ties along my driveway, helping me find a job in the oil & gas industry, and a few other things along the way. When I needed legal advice, he was always there. And when he asked for our help, we tried to be there for him too. These are good memories that helping me get through this.
When we were kids, we were kind of the same, but still very much different. I seemed to embrace the French part of our heritage and Eric seemed to embrace the American side of it. Where Eric like to socialize with his schoolmates, I didn’t. He played sports, I read books and played with computers. As young adults, we had different goals in life. He left Athens and headed to Tulsa Oklahoma to study law. When he came home to Ohio after finishing his legal studies, he became an assistant prosecutor for Scioto County. After a while, he ran for office but was unable to get elected. He went into practice for himself and eventually started working in the oil & gas industry as a landman. When he came home to Ohio after finishing his legal studies, he became an assistant prosecutor for Scioto County. After a while, he ran for office but was unable to get elected. He went into practice for himself and eventually started working in the oil & gas industry as a landman. As it would happen, Eric got me into the field he had been working in for quite a while and it’s where I’m still currently working: Landman.
In the last few years, Eric’s life became simpler. He spent much more time at home doing things to stay busy. He did some cooking and wrote articles about it in a local paper. He remained active in local politics. He was an avid watcher of the news and often had strong opinions, usually the opposite of mine, about politics. His television screen actually has a little bit of burn-in from it. He showed off his old high school soccer jersey that his wife had framed up and hung for him in the living room. Many older pictures are hanging in their living room, including an older portrait of one of our ancestors. He has been growing a little bit more eccentric in the past couple of years, but he was still Eric.
Saturday, I got to see my brother. My parents and I went to Chillicothe to pick up some tiles for their house and stopped by Eric and Missy’s house to pick up a printer destined for his daughter Elise and to ‘repo’ my power-washer that my parents need to use. It wasn’t a long visit, it was actually fairly short. He asked me if I thought I could help him fix his outdoor smoker. Something about the auger and the ignition not working. I was going to try to set some time aside and get it done for him in the next few weeks. It’s more important than not for me to do it now. I owe it to him. I bought an inexpensive electronic writing tablet last week and showed it to him. It’s called a boogie board blackboard. Nothing fancy, but I wanted to show it to him because it reminded me of the slate tablets we used in class in France as kids. Except instead of needing a wet sponge to clean off the writing, you just press a button. He looked at it and kind of gave a nod. I like to think that, just maybe and for just a few moments, it brought him a pleasant memory of our childhoods.
Also on that day, he was having trouble getting his relatively new smartphone to work right. He got it this past spring and never quite got the hang of using it. Once we got it powered up, it seemed to behave and work properly. I told him it was probably just a setting that was off and got reset when it was powered back up. Eric isn’t, I mean wasn’t, very technologically inclined. I have a feeling it was more user error than anything else. I seemed to be his go-to guy for technology questions. But I don’t care about that, user error or not, I would be happy to show him a thousand more times how to make his phone or computer work than not have him around anymore.
He leaves behind Missy, his wife, his 3 daughters, Elise, Emma, and Kenna from his 1st wife, and my parents & me.
I miss you Eric. I love you!