Today is the funeral for my brother James.

James was diagnosed with Stage IV prostate cancer eight years ago.

As you probably realize, eight year survival from any Stage IV cancer is not expected; but James was, if nothing else, a fighter.

Because of the pandemic, I can’t be there with family to pay my respects to James; but I am there in my heart.

My Stepmom always insisted that James and Robert (my two brothers from my Stepmom and my Dad) be called James and Robert because she didn’t want some diminutive nickname, like Jimmy or Bobby, or some such, stick to them when they grew up.  Both James and Robert became Jim and Bob later in life, but they were and always will be James and Robert to me.

James was one of the smartest people I ever knew.  His mind was amazing.  He was so funny too.  He also was the spitting image of my Dad.

He left behind a wife that loved him so much.  James was not perfect (also like my Dad) but he was truly loved, as evidenced by the fact his wife, Kathy, stuck with him through good and bad.

My introduction to James was when he was an infant and Robert was a toddler.  My Dad and Jean (my Stepmom) had come to pick us up and take us to their home in Minnesota for a summer visit.  James was sleeping in the front seat, held by Jean; Robert was in the front seat between Jean and Dad (because, you know, the 60s).  Robert decided he wanted to be in the back seat with big sisters.  He climbed over and kicked the bejeezus out of James’ head with his big old’ heavy toddler shoes.  I don’t think James stopped screaming until we reached Minnesota.

So many other memories of James – almost all involving lots and lots of laughter.

He will live long in many hearts, including mine.

I understand that James will be cremated.  I think a fitting place to disperse his ashes is Long Lake, Michigan.  It was his happy place.  I think it would be fitting to go out onto the lake at sunset, distribute his ashes and then pour in a beer; and if you could somehow get some fishing in – that would be perfect.  Fishing on the lake with a cold one.  That was James’ happy place.

Wherever you end up … Rest in peace, James.


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