In June of 2013, Kat and I made the leap into the full time RV lifestyle. So far, our time has been wondrous. We have been able to visit some awesome places and still be flexible enough for me to keep my full time job. Little did I know that this decision would provide us an incredible opportunity.
A few weeks ago, we received some very terrible news. My oldest brother, Dennis, had been diagnosed with late stage 4 lung cancer. Initially, he was given 6 months to live. Then he had some additional complications (an intestinal blockage) and had that number reduced to weeks. My brother was transported to his son's house for his final hospice care. So, without hesitation, Kat and I picked up and pulled our Dutchmen to the Tampa area. I can only say that it is an honor and a privilege to help my brother and his family through this final chapter of his life.
At 17 years my senior, Dennis and I grew up in different worlds. He was fighting in Vietnam when I was an infant. As a child, I moved to the west coast of the U.S. (California), while my brother remained in Florida. So, we had differences in age and distance. But, he managed to be a major influence throughout my life. When our parents were going through a messy divorce and using us kids as weapons against each other, he was the stabilizing force. As I went into bootcamp, my brother and his wife took in my pregnant wife and daughter and helped get us on our feet.
From his time in the Navy Construction Battalion, Dennis learned to fix and/or build just about anything. He started and ran a dive welding business and opened a meat market for his wife. He possessed and passed to his children an amazing work ethic.
Nearly 20 years ago, Dennis lost his wife to cancer. He never recovered from that as she seemed to take his drive with her. He vanished for awhile, but managed to re-invent himself in the IT world, installing mail sorters for the U.S. Post Office.
Once again, distance became a barrier. I was working on my career and Dennis was travelling and working 80 hours a week to support a new wife that was not of the same calibre, and drained the rest of the life from him.
It was my goal to re-unite us 3 brothers for a combined project. Now, that will not be possible.
My brother will supply the universe his much needed energy.
See you on the trail,