My brother-in-law, whom I have known since I was about 9, lost his battle with lung cancer on Saturday. He put up a brave front and fought a good fight, but his body grew weary and weak from the chemo and radiation. My sister wasn’t ready to let him go and is having a very difficult time.
He and my sister had been together since they were about 15 years old. Our families became close friends. They moved with his family to another state and eventually my family moved to the same city and state (except for me and another sister, we were both married by then).
He was a great guy (a bit annoying at times when I was a teenager) and a great husband and father to their three kids. He wasn’t the most ambitious man but spent a lot of time with his family. He especially loved to fish, putz around on their son’s farm and play with his grandkids.
Last March we had a gigantic family reunion/birthday party for him. He has a large family and mine is too, so we had a lot of people there. We all knew he wouldn’t live through the summer so it was really a celebration of his life. My daughter, the photographer, took lots of pictures for us.
At his request there won’t be a viewing before the service. He wanted to be cremated and have a small service where everyone is to wear their most comfy jeans and t-shirts. A bonfire will be lit at their son’s farm that evening in his memory.
I’m trying to get some priority projects at work up to a point for others to take over so I can leave tomorrow to be with my family. The problem for me is the service isn’t until Friday but I have to be back in town to catch a plane on Saturday morning to go to a conference. I won’t be able to attend the service or bonfire and feel a little bummed about it.
So this is my tribute to Johnny - a simple man who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life leaving this world his way … simply.
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