My brother’s birthday is today. He would have turned 61. He died at the young age of 55 – my age…It has been 6 years, but it still seems at times as if it was yesterday. You never really get over a death, perhaps some are more difficult than others, I suppose, like the death of a child, but the loss is always with you. Yes, time does heal, but you never forget, especially at holidays and every birthday, they remind us that our loved one is gone.
Howard was my only brother, although we were 6 years apart we were really close. He is the reason I am a photographer. Many years ago when my kids were still little, we both started photography school together, with the thought that we would one day go into business together. My timing was off with trying to balance my family, so I attended one term and quit and he continued and became a working photographer, until his death.
When you lose a brother, there are so many connections lost, your children miss out on having a uncle, my nieces miss out on having their dad, their children miss out on having a grandfather, my mother misses out on having her only son, no mother ever expects to bury their child.
My brother lost his battle with colon cancer a few years after he was diagnosed. This ugly cancer seemed to have set up residency in my family, it started with my father, then my brother, two sisters and my 82 year-old mother. He fought it with all he had, never showing the outward signs that his body was failing him, he continued to work almost to the end. He knew he was dying so the last year before he departed he celebrated life to its fullest, ending with a family cruise with all of us to the islands.
For a while I walked in fear, feeling as if cancer was chasing me and soon it was going to attack me as well, but I finally had to let that go. I changed some things in my life, like my doctor who was the worst, always making me feel as if it was going to happen, she just didn’t know when. I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle, but there is always room for improvement, so I exercise, follow a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, stay positive, live each day to the fullest, knowing that nothing is for certain and with all the environmental toxins that I have no control over, you just never know.
My brother lives inside of me via my photography, I know he is looking down on me smiling, now that I am carrying the torch and doing something that he loved so much. My memories of our time together never fade, I’ll never forget the time he took my friend and I to the forum to see James Brown, we were about 14 so this was a big deal, or cleaning his room for $5.00 every week, or taking my friends and I to the beach for my 16th birthday, the list goes on and on. The sad thing though, is we have no pictures together…another reason why I am obsessive about taking pictures and documenting my life with my family and friends.
Today I will reflect on his life as I go about my day, smiling as I hear my shutter click- Howard Jones JR. R.I.P.
Have you lost a sibling? How did you cope with the loss?
Happy Monday XOXO.