Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Florida's beauty is my therapy

It has been two months plus since my dear brother in love Dennis passed. I was unable to write anything for awhile and it has hit Kit and myself to our core. I never imagined life without him in it or how much I would miss his comments, love, and likes on my photos or posts on Facebook. Not that I am just living on that social media, but that's how Dennis chose to communicate to us. I never imagined being here in Florida without Dennis there to share a pot of coffee and not be able to sit with him for hours. When we made the decision to live in an RV full time, one of the driving forces was to search him out and spend some time together. Kit and I would talk about that dream to drag him along on our adventures and share some talks over a pot of coffee. We knew from speaking with him how much he was hurting and the regrets he had on choosing to remarry. We wanted to supply him with that escape. We knew he was working too hard, but that was who he was. Dennis was always there for us in our youth and he gave us some superb advice. I will always treasure those fond memories of him.
I remember the first time I met him and his lovely Vicki. I was seven months pregnant and my doctor told me due to my previous pregnancy difficulties that I would not be able to travel from California to Florida in a car, so I had to fly. I was flying with a two year old (who as all two years olds can be a bit unruly at times) and seven months pregnant, while Kit drove our little car across the United States. Dennis offered to pick me and my little two year old up at the airport. The flight was not an easy one as we hit turbulence and I was nauseous. When we finally landed in Florida, I saw this man with this crazy mustache walk across the airport towards me, with sweet Vicki on his arm. I had a description and had seen photos of them, but had never met them. They immediately wrapped their arms around me and I nearly broke with relief. As my sweet two year old was in a stroller, Dennis immediately let her out. I told him she had boundless energy and he said that's alright I got this. My girl had her uncle and aunt wrapped around her finger from that point on. As I predicted she bounded off and Dennis ran after her. Vicki and I started chatting and she helped me with my luggage and wouldn't let me lift a finger. Dennis was still having fun chasing his girl as he called her. They came back hand in hand with huge smiles on their faces. The connection between them was priceless and I can still see the love in his big huge eyes for us and Vicki's sweet hugs. Oh how I miss them and how we connected and they made me so comfortable from that first moment. I fell in love with them and their sweet boys (whom I met later) and felt so at ease with them.
There are so many memories of them being there for us throughout our time in Florida. We spent a lot of time getting to know them. When Kit was in boot camp, I was planning on staying home for Xmas, Vicki and Dennis would not have that and picked me and our little bit up for a family reunion in Tennessee. You could never argue with Vicki and her stubborness, she would not take no for an answer. Vicki was what I always had hoped for in a sister as I had none growing up. We had a such a great time on just the drive up, they were always helpful, loving, and giving. Dennis and Vicki were so much fun to be around and their two boys were so sweet. I fell in love with their boys as much as they fell in love with our girls.
On leaving Florida, Dennis and Vicki insisted we stop at their shop. Dennis wanted to make sure our car was safe for the long drive up to Massachusetts. He did a total overhaul on our little car, gave Kit some tools, and Vicki made sure we had all we needed as well. They were the most loving and giving couple I knew. They would not hear of any payment and with many hugs and kisses they sent us on our way. To me their kindness touched me to the core and I vowed to one day repay that kindness.
Throughout the years we kept in touch, we watched as their sons grew into young men and they watched as our girls grew. Even over the miles we were close.
As Kit was leaving the Navy, Vicki got sick and I lost a sister and Dennis lost a huge piece of himself. I remember one time after she passed of us getting together with Dennis and he took us out for a drink. After having a few drinks and good talks, Dennis did some karaoke and he blew me away with his voice. The man could sing and we had some good times that weekend. It appears all three brothers have a talent in that area. My Kit sang to me at my wedding and has a beautiful voice. Dennis was hurting and we told him our home was always open to him anytime. He did end up moving in with us for quite awhile, but he always helped pitch in around our little home. Kit and Dennis replaced the flooring, planted a garden, and Dennis made me a gorgeous hanging pan wrack. Dennis and I made fresh homemade salsa together and we just genuinely enjoyed spending time talking over a strong pot of coffee. Dennis was always there for his boys as well as our girls and he was a huge influence on them. I never wanted Dennis to leave, but when he did we never lost that connection we had developed. We visited him in Florida on our family vacations and had fun miniature golfing with him. He was always teasing us girls and had such a great connection with his brother. When we needed advice we always went to Dennis and he always took the time for us. The girls were spoiled by him and had fun with their uncle, but what I value the most is what a positive influence he was on their young lives.
As Kit and I explore Florida now, I can feel and see Dennis everywhere I look. I will forever miss my sister Vicki and my brother Dennis. In his passing my heart shattered, but I am happy that he got to tease me even in his last few weeks. I have this huge urge to "Get in the kitchen and make him a pie" as he always said. I only wish I could have one more pot of coffee and time to make him his pie just so we could once again sit and have one of our deep discussions. Dennis you were loved by so many and will be missed deeply.

Always in my heart,