Three years ago today my brother in law died suddenly. It was a car accident. I blogged about it a little bit last year. People wear your seat belts! He's been on my mind a lot this week. Today Diva and I were driving towards downtown to pick up my co-op order. There was a man passing us on a Harley (or Harley like) motorcycle. He had a ponytail. For a split second I could believe it was him. I'm still listening for that motorcycle. I lost it. I don't think Diva noticed. She was 1 1/2 when he died and doesn't have any memory of him other than the pictures we show her. I think that's what crushes me the most. My kids will never know their Uncle Walt. He LOVED Diva. I have a picture of him holding her when she was a few weeks old (Naturally I can't find it right now) and he is making goggly eyes at her. He was goofy over her and was making all sorts of plans for when she got older. He and Mr. Mayer used to talk about when she was old enough to date and what they would do. It was ridiculous how goofy these grown men were over a baby.
You know how every family has their "rock star." That one person who is sort of an enigma and too cool for anyone. I always thought of Walter Joe that way. He was the family rock star. Everyone loved him. You couldn't be in a room with the man for more than a minute and not love him. He had the biggest heart and kindest soul of anyone I know. He also had a lot of demons that got the best of him at times.
I didn't get to know Walter Joe until my father in law~ Walt~ got sick. Walter Joe moved back from Tennessee without a second thought and started taking care of the family business. The night that Walt died the family was all gathered together with him. Walter Joe was standing next to me holding my hand. The moment Walt died and we all knew it he hugged me. I will never forget that moment.
The day Walter Joe died was one of my darkest days. Those next few days are blurry. I just remember the pit in my stomach. More than anything I remember my mother in law. Having my own kids I cannot imagine ever losing one of them. My mother in law is one of the toughest ladies I know. Having gone what she went through in a few years I'm not sure I would have done as well as she did. I can't imagine.
Walter Joe had a very distinct walk. I don't see other people do it very often. Every once in a while I will see someone who does something similar and I stare. I can't help it. I stare. My apologies to anyone I creep out by doing that. It's this sort of a bouncy saunter. I don't even know how to describe it. My very favorite thing about him was that when he would have something he thought was important or make an observation about someone he would always start it with "What we have here folks..." I miss that. At the time it used to drive me crazy...but that is one of the things I miss hearing. I would love to hear him say that now.