Today, April 15th, is my brother's birthday. He was known as Buddy (or Bud) to his family and friends, while his wife and business associates called him Karl. To his nieces and nephews, he'll forever be known as Uncle Bug. My daughter began calling him Uncle Bug because she thought that's what we were saying when we talked to her about her Uncle BUD. The name stuck and he loved it. Bud has been gone for nearly ten years, but he left us richer for having had him in our lives.
The very last day I was with my brother was Easter of 2000. It was also his birthday. He and his family, my sisters and their families, and my family and I gathered at our mother's home for a birthday celebration and Easter egg hunt. We made wonderful memories that day. Little did we know they'd have to last us a lifetime. We took turns standing in front of Mom's lilac bush for pictures that day and I'm so glad we did.
At my brother's funeral, his daughters' friends stood up and sang "Butterfly Kisses". When we arrived back at his home after the service, his sweet daughters were overheard arguing about what color his wings were. They finally decided his angel wings had to be red since that was his favorite color. We miss you Bud.
IF I HAD KNOWN
If I had known…..your birthday that year would be the last time I'd see you....I would have hugged you tighter as we said goodbye….and never let you go….
If I had known….your heart wasn’t well….I would have begged, pleaded, gone to the doctor with you….I would have done anything I could to save your life….
If I had known…..the pain of losing you might have been avoided….I would have tried to move Heaven and earth so none of us who love you would have to experience that heartache….
If I had known…..how lonely and frightening your last few hours must have been…..I would have called you…..sat with you….prayed with you…come to you and taken you to get help….
If I had known….how short your life would be…..I would have loved you better when you were the little brother with whom I fought….I would have overlooked your dirty hands and sticky face….and hugged you anyway….
Today is your birthday and though it’s been 10 years since that last family gathering, I still miss you every day. I miss our night owl phone conversations. I miss helping you plan surprise visits to Mom's. I miss singing with you and hearing your deep rich baritone voice.
Sometimes I think I feel your presence, other times I’m not so sure. I constantly look for signs you’re communicating with me and when I hear Butterfly Kisses played on the radio, I know you sent it to me. I talk to you and feel you’re listening, at least I hope you are. I’m so grateful you were in my life even though the time was short. You will remain in my heart for as long as I live. You’ll always be my little brother.
Love and gratitude……Sis