Goodbye, I Will Always Remember You; A Tribute to My Brother, Alvin

I packed some more things today and then the phone rang. The voice sounded familiar as we talked. He said it was finished and I said thank-you and goodbye. My stomach started churning. I thought sure I was going to vomit. Everything from the past five months came flooding back to the front of my mind.

I finished what I was doing. I changed my clothes. I grabbed my purse and my camera. As I started the car quiet tears began to fall. I knew I had to keep it together or I would not be able to drive.

I drove the ten minutes and turned the car in between the gates. I drove slowly taking in the atmosphere as if I had entered a different realm beyond this earth. I stopped the car and turned the keys.

Silence came over me. I grabbed my camera and did what I knew I needed to do. Taking the photos and being satisfied with my work I walked back to the car, got in and began to sob.

Everything I had been holding back since March 24th at 8:30am came flooding down my cheeks. I cried like I have never cried.  I explained to my brother that I was leaving. I told him how I would never forget him but I must move forward in order to heal. I told my parents hello and I knew that mom especially, was so glad I could pay a visit.

I asked Al to keep his promise to save a spot for me and I almost felt his smile as I gazed down at his new headstone that was completed only hours ago. I knelt by Al and I touched the cold cement, but I knew my heart was warm as I felt the closest to Al I had since his passing.

I promised him I would come back and visit. I promised him that my daughter and son-in-law would look after me as well as he did. I promised him I would laugh one day again.

My job is complete. I cared for my brother with everything I had in me. I made sure he had as good of life and lots of laughter and fun as possible. I kept my promise to myself that he would have a nice funeral. I promised that somehow I would come up with the money for his headstone.

It was never a true job, but it had its ups and downs. I didn’t punch in and out on a time clock as his care never was less than 24/7. It was a job that tested my mental alertness, my devotions, my faith in God. It taught me more about compassion than any other job I have ever held.

As I walked up to my front door I turned around and looked at what I would soon be leaving. I swear I felt God’s arms around me. I know I felt Al’s smile. I love you buddy forever and ever.

Photos are:

Alvin’s new headstone with the coca-cola bottle and red cap

My parents headstone which rest beside Alvin

The clouds that I saw when I turned from my door and looked up.









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26 thoughts on “Goodbye, I Will Always Remember You; A Tribute to My Brother, Alvin

  1. I got goosebumps reading that. You can’t say it wasn’t a true job, Terry, it was. It was one of the most difficult jobs there are and you did it well. You were an amazing carer and sister. It’s time for you now though


  2. ti sono vicino anche mia madre se ne andata il 13 giugno 2014 dopo 15 lunghi anni di MSA……il loro ricordo sarà sempre con noi gl’anni della sofferenza ma anche quelli bei ricordi di una vita passata insieme…che ora riaffiorano nella mente……mia madre riposa in mare dove ha voluto che spargessi le sue ceneri e ogni volta che guardo il mare …..vedo il suo viso,,,ciao CRISTIANA


      • Loosely translated:

        you are near my mother is gone June 13, 2014 after 15 long years of MSA …… the memory of them will always be with us gl’anni of suffering but also those fond memories of a past life together … now re-emerge in the mind … my mother … rests in the sea where he wanted his ashes spargessi and every time I look at the sea … ..vedo his face ,,, hello CHRISTIAN

        From me:
        So sorry for your loss. My younger sister has MSA. I have to still work, but try to do what I can to help her and my brother in law as much as possible. God bless you and keep you as you move forward. This was a lovely tribute.


      • Thank you so much Deanna for translating this for me. My heart goes out to you that you have a sister who suffers from this. My brother deserved to go to heaven after suffering so bad, but the void in my heart is still very large. Thank you for your beautiful comment. God bless and you are in my prayers and thoughts. Hugs


    • I cried off and on most of yesterday evening. It is a farewell goodbye for me. I need to move forward. I will pack all my memories and take them with me as I walk into the next chapter of my life. It is so hard to give him up. I want to say hello to him just one more time


  3. Dear Terry, as always I wish you the best. I have not read any blogs for some months now, so I am not up to date on your developments, but seems like new doors have opened for you, and that new blessings are ahead! I am so glad! As for how you took care of Al, thank you dear Terry for the love you showed him and us through sharing your days of caring. You were not only a comfort to Al, but to all of us who through knowing your story would know that of true love and caring is for real, and is possible.Love, Solveig


    • Thank you so much dear friend. I don’t know if the void Al left in my life will ever be filled. I do know that I seem stuck in time and I have to move on. If I don’t I could become an emotional wreck. The headstone was sort of like closing that part of my life but yet leaving the memories chapters always open


  4. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us. Hearing about and seeing the headstone gave me some closure as well. I have learned so much from you that will help me in the future as I close the chapters on my husband’s life…as he is now much worse.
    May God bless you warmly. I will watch for updates…cannot keep up with them all but somehow I seem to be drawn to the important ones…like reading this one tonight.
    Give your self time to heal…that void you feel is just evidence of how important he was to you.
    Hugs to you always, Linda


    • I don’t know how I can make you feel good when I speak of losing my brother, when your husband is still with you. Only God can turn words into something another pair of eyes see and understand it for them. I am always going to be very grateful for the wonderful friendships I have formed because of MSA. I can’t say there is much good in the terrible illness but the positive is people like you in my life. When no one was with me throughout so much of the time, I knew all I had to do was turn to the MSA sites. God bless you. I pray you don’t suffer like Al and I did those past several months. Cling to God, for he will carry all of your tears and worries upon his shoulders. Love and hugs my dear friend


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