...my heart has never felt such pain.
Cal was born on November 28, 1978...He was thirty-one years old.
...He was a very good natured baby from the start, with an even temperament and a quick and easy smile. My mother has shared with me that for the first week of my brother coming home from the hospital I relentlessly asked, "when will he go back?" :)
My greatest memory of Cal as a baby is his big ears. The family joke was to "tip toe" around our sleeping boy, as his ears were so big it was certain he could hear a pin drop!
As a boy, Cal was involved in many community activities. He was a Cub Scout, played Little League Baseball, and enjoyed attending youth activities at our church. In high school, Cal was a triple-sport athlete, playing basketball, football, and baseball! He was a tremendous talent when it came to any sport!
Four years apart, Cal and I shared so much together within the first two years of his life. Our parents divorce when Cal was two and I had just turned seven created a special bond between the two of us, as I felt the need to "mother" my baby brother, knowing he had no clue as to what was going on. Such a big, brawny baby boy, the sight of my scrawny self carrying Cal around brought laughter to those who witnessed....
...Cal and I were thick as thieves when it came to trouble...when one of us was receiving a "talking to", the other was hiding behind a piece of furniture, only to be seen by one another, giggling...which only got us into more trouble! I can hear my mother now, "is it funny?" Sometimes my brother would say, "a little bit." :)
When we lived in our apartment just after my parents divorce, my brother and I shared a bedroom. One day while we were playing Barbie's (I am certain that Cal "volunteered" with great enthusiasm) Cal pulled the head off my only Ken Barbie doll! "I will NEVER forget that you did this, and when we are old in our eighties, I will STILL remember..." and at the age of thirty-six, I still remember.
"Tickling" backs was our greatest negotiation! Laying on the family room floor, watching "Silver Spoons" and "One Day At A Time", Cal and I would bargain "tickling" time..."I'll tickle your back for two commercials, then it's my turn."
After high school, and attempting the college life (which neither of us did very well), Cal and I shared an apartment together. I had just been through my divorce, a single mother of a two year old...Cal and my son Hayden began their special connection.
Of course over the years there have been arguments, jealousy, bitterness, tears...
....but the laughter, the love and the brother/sister relationship far outweigh it all!
My brother's greatest gifts are his children that he leaves behind. Sophia, two years old and full of life! Her white blond hair, her tall lanky body, her chicken legs and her sassy attitude...she's a "Fine" through and through. Henry, just a year old, nicknamed "Hank the Tank", his chubby cheeks and his piercing blue eyes...I see so much of my brother in his precious face.
Cal...as I just shared with you a few short months ago, you were an incredible father. I am so proud of the daddy that you were. Your babies adore you...and with your memory still very much alive, they always will.
I love you so very much Cal. Know that I believed in you...
...life was difficult, but your smile and your humor kept you from ever giving up. You wanted so much for your children and for Corinn, and yet a terrible illness kept you from reaching your goals.
...Know that Mark and I will do everything we can to carry on your dreams for Sophie, Henry and Corinn. We will continue to love them as you loved them. We will provide for them in any way they need. Know that they are being protected and cared for.
I am so proud of who you were Cal. Never, ever think that I didn't love you every second you were here...
...and my love for you continues to grow, although I will now love you from afar, I know you know just how very much I love you!
Have peace dear brother...tear up the basketball courts of Heaven, catch up with your best friend Craig, and pass along hugs and kisses to Grandma and Popo...
...Wrap yourself in the love and comfort of Christ, as I know He loves you just as you were and are!