Today would have been my little brother’s 41st birthday and I will miss calling him to give him a proper ribbing.
Jon, Jonny, Little Jon, or his trail name “Duke” unexpectedly left us last year just a few days following his 40th birthday on September 22nd. We’ve had almost a year now to reflect and try to wrap our heads around his passing. And what a year it’s been. I smile when I say this but perhaps Jonny knew 2020 was coming? He was always pretty good at spotting trouble and definitely smarter than me when it came to avoiding the hard stuff.
If Jon were here, I’d probably find some reason to give him a hard time and tell him I loved him while reminding him that he was getting old and turning grey like me. And to be honest, I’d probably still be judging and pushing him to be something different or something more than he was. He was five years younger and a wholly different person than me. I still don’t completely understand Jonny and wonder at how two boys that grew up together would bake so differently. We always struggled to find the right place to meet. I’ll take most of that blame as I kept waiting for Jon to be something else.
With a little time, I recognize that I could have met him in the place he was and been more accepting. It would have been good for both of us and enriched each of our lives more. So, I’ll share this as a reminder to meet your friends, your family, your spouse, and especially your children as you find them. It’s fine to have high expectations but don’t put your own hopes, dreams, values, or judgment on somebody else. Each person has their own life to lead and if you value the relationship, you’ll be better served to try and meet them on their path with love and compassion.
One great part of the human condition is that you tend to focus memories on the good parts of any past relationship. I’m still working on it but this allows me to smile, shake my head, and laugh at so many funny memories with Jon. There are plenty of “only Jon” stories to be shared. He was a great son, uncle, and brother that is especially missed today.
Happy Birthday Jonny.