My Adored Stepson the other day playfully gleeked on me.
Not sure what it means “to gleek”? Google will tell you a Gleek is a fan of the television show Glee, but wikiHow defines gleeking as “the act of stimulating the salivary glands underneath your tongue into spitting a concentrated jet of pure saliva,” helpfully offering 4 Ways to Gleek to increase your arsenal of body tricks.
(We will not address this violation of propriety; my stepson, adored as he is, comes a family where farting loudly is considered a matter of pride, not embarrassment.)
My response, of course: “Gross! Stop that!”
But Stepson’s actions reminded me immediately of my brother, who I remember again today on the 16th anniversary of his death at age 26.
My little brother Curt, too, took great pride in being able to gleek (long before he could have looked it up on WikiHow). My stepson often reminds me of my brother; I know Curt would have adored him as much as I do. I sometimes think God gave me this gift of Stepson because I paid so little attention to my brother during his teenage years.
(I guess I can’t deny my heritage; Curt was also known for lighting his farts on fire.)
I met a woman about my age this week who, in the course of our getting to know each other, mentioned her sister died of breast cancer at age 30. I gave her my “I’m sorry” face, and our conversation continued on whatever course it was on without really talking about the heartache of such a loss. Different demise, similar sorrow.
Sixteen years later, I don’t grieve so much Curt’s death. I am better able to remember him for his big heart, enthusiasm for life and his mirthfulness.
Like being able to gleek.
In his honor today, I’m sharing one of my favorite posts about him, written four years ago:
Ode to my brother
Twelve years ago today …
I was watching “The Practice” with that cute Dylan McDermott and the skinny actress from “Twin Peaks.” It was a 9 p.m. Sunday night habit.
The phone rang, and I knew immediately something was wrong. The phone rarely rang after 9 p.m. at our house. The caller told me my brother had been gravely injured in a car accident on snow-covered roads, and my parents were on their way to the hospital.
There was nothing I could do except wait for more news, so I went to bed and said a prayer, “Dear God, give me the strength to handle whatever is about to come.” I just knew the news was bad, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask for something I knew I wouldn’t get.
My brother, Curt, was already dead when I said that prayer.
I thought of my brother last week when I heard President Obama speak about the shooting tragedy in Tucson.
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