Someone today said that the word ‘truck‘ meant many things. It does. For me it means happiness, sadness and intense grief.
I lost my brother on December 13, 2010. He was a trucker.
It was shortly after his death that I began to write a blog. It was called “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. The link is on the bottom of my homepage on this blog.
I would like you, dear reader, to read my words from that time.
But I would also like you to hear me now.
My brother was a free thinker. He was in his forties before he found a profession that suited him. It was trucking. He drove on routes that took him from his home in Montana to Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Seattle. He occasionally made it to California. Usually, he stayed in the northwestern part of the States.
He drove in all kinds of conditions. Snow being the most spectacular and worrisome. He was very good at what he did. He was also very good at not telling me that he ran off the road in white-out conditions or that he had to fix a flat in 40 below 0 temperatures.
For entertainment he would listen to audio books. Novels, histories, non-fiction, you name it, he listened to it. He literally educated himself in a semi as he traveled America.
His favorite form of a joke was a pun. Any pun was fun. (Sorry….) He would often call me from somewhere in the middle of nowhere just to tell me his latest pun. For the life of me, I can’t remember one. But I do remember having an entire conversation in pun. His mind worked so fast and his vocabulary was so immense that I could not compete for long. But I loved every second of it. To this day, and probably for the rest of my life, a pun will bring up memories of Daniel.
He also listen to every kind of music-jazz was his favorite. Although, I must say, James Taylor went a long way with him. He was thrilled when my daughter was accepted into the Vocal Arts Ensemble. He was beside himself when I was selected. He came to every concert that his schedule allowed. After he moved back to California, if he knew he couldn’t make the actual concert he would come and sit in on our dress or concert rehearsals . I once had to tell him to be quiet because he kept clapping along with us. He loved our music. He loved the way that we not just a choir but that we were a family.
The last VAE concert that he attended was on December 3, 2010. He was helping my daughter’s mother-in-law get around our town. He chatted with her and her husband, drove them from their hotel to the concert and back. A couple of days later he stopped by my house on his way to godknowswhere, he ate some hotdogs for dinner. I drove him back to his truck. That was the last time I saw him. For some reason, I told him that I loved him. He looked at me like I had a third eye or a second nose. I don’t think I ever thought to say that to him before. I don’t think he thought it was necessary. He knew that. And I knew that he loved me. In his mind- “‘Nuff said.”
He called the night that he died. He called to tell me that something was wrong with his eyes. When they got him to the hospital they called me. The brain bleed was massive. There was nothing any medical person could do. Officially, he didn’t die until the 15th. That’s the day that the machines were turned off and his body gave life to others.
I miss him with a grief that is both seething with tears and flying with happiness. He was my brother, my best friend, my mentor, my guru. And I his. I was so very blessed to have been a part of his life.
As I prepare to go to Spain with the Vocal Arts Ensemble, I know that Daniel will go with us. In my heart and head. I know that is true for my daughter as well.
He would just tell us to “keep on truckin'”.
Joe Biden was right. There is a time when the smile comes before the tear.