Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Brother

I apologize for not posting my blog last week, but I was on a trip that I wish I hadn’t had to take--at least not for the reason I took it.

I had already been planning on visiting Phoenix to see my brother Rob Osgood and his family. I did get to visit family, but Rob had passed away by the time I got there.

Rob had been ill for years with pulmonary hypertension. I knew it would eventually kill him, but I had hoped that “eventually” meant a long time from now. But despite some improvement in treatments of that disease over time, his poor body reached a point that it simply couldn’t take any more.

I was five years old when my baby brother was born. At that time, I had an imaginary playmate named Bucky the Goat. Bucky disappeared when Rob arrived.

Rob and I grew up in Pittsburgh, in the Township of Mt. Lebanon, on Arrowood Drive. I was a fairly quiet kid, with strawberry blonde hair. Rob’s bright red hair made him stand out in a crowd, and he rose to each occasion as an outgoing kid with a ready wit and outstanding sense of humor.

The front lawn of our home became a Wiffle Ball diamond, and we played that kind of kiddy baseball all the time with the neighbors’ children of all ages--many of whom were Rob’s best friends. Our backyard was vast and led to some woods, and the first part of the slope eventually sported a rope ski tow for Rob and other neighborhood kids. One of the scariest memories of my childhood was the day when we were all clearing the grass and weeds and small trees from the yard for installation of the ski tow--and Rob stepped in a bee’s nest. He was covered! Our neighbor brushed most of the bees off, and Rob was rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, he wasn’t allergic to bee stings.

As he got older, Rob became enamored of cars. That love affair existed through his entire life. When he was fifteen, he drove the family car up and down our steeply sloped driveway. He got his driver’s license when he turned sixteen and never stopped driving after that.

Nor did he stop adoring and acquiring cars. One of the earliest in our family was a 1930 Model A Ford. At later times, he wound up with a Datsun 240Z, and other sports cars. I’m not sure whether he ever kept track of them, but, knowing Rob, he probably could have told me the exact number and every make and model he’d ever had. His last car was a Cadillac.

He eventually turned his love of cars into his career, starting a company called Steel Dreamz, in which he acquired and sold pre-owned vehicles. Okay, he was less tactful than that. He may have referred to them as used cars. Good quality ones, of course.

Rob was married twice. His first wife Jackie and he had two wonderful kids--Hallie, who married Aj a few years ago, and Garrett, who inherited his love of cars. He acquired a delightful stepdaughter, Liesl, when he later married his high school sweetheart, Chris.

Like me, Rob was a pet lover. He enjoyed Hallie and Aj’s cats. He grieved recently over the loss of his adorable and rambunctious yellow Lab, Sadie. He had been the one to choose to adopt Scarlett, a lovely ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who’d been in need of a new home after being saved from being a mama in a puppy mill. Scarlett now lives with Lacey, a sweet Blenheim Cavalier owned by Chris.

I didn’t see Rob often enough during recent years, although we spoke at least weekly by phone. The most recent time I saw him was earlier this year when he came to California to visit the beach. He’d wanted to see the ocean one last time. But he enjoyed it so much that he planned another visit later this year--this month, in fact--which gave me continued hope that he would visit often to see the beach yet another “last” time.

Rob was always there for me, though. Whenever I had a problem, especially those relating to loss of the older generation in our family or other issues relating to them, he always listened and gave me a strong, if remote, shoulder to cry on.

I could use that strong shoulder now, Rob. I miss you.

Of course maybe now you’re laughing over the Three Stooges with our Uncle Gary, whom we lost twelve years ago. I hope so. Nyuk, nyuk to you both.

16 comments:

Dru said...

Linda, that is a beautiful tribute to your brother.

{{{hugs}}}

Sarita said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Liz said...

My deepest sympathy.

Monica Ferris said...

What a lovely, powerful tribute to your brother! My condolences on your loss.

Terri said...

So sorry for your loss! I lost my sister back in May unexpectedly, so I know some of what you are going through. And I agree with Monica - a lovely tribute indeed!

Janie Emaus said...

That was lovely, Linda. I'm sending you hugs & lots of love.

JanG said...

You brought tears to my eyes with your heartfelt words. My condolences, too.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks to all of you. It helps to know that people care.

Terri Thayer said...

Oh Linda, I'm so sorry. What a loss. You did your brother proud.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Linda, I am glad for you that he was in your life, and sad for you that he is gone.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Terri and Joanna.

Judy said...

I grieve with you. I lost my baby brother a few months ago to Alzheimers. We were the closest in our family and his passing has really been hard as I know losing your brother is hard for you. I will be in prayer you will receive the comfort to face his death and soon have his happy memories to make your life joyful.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Judy, and my condolences to you, too. I also always considered Rob my baby brother, no matter how old we got.

Kathy Bennett said...

What a lovely remembrance of your brother.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks so much, Kathy.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, that was a wonderful post. It is so nice that you had such a good relationship with your brother. I'm so sorry for your loss.