I’ve had a heck of a year!! Two weeks after my adorable cat Fritz died I headed west to attend the wedding of my brother with his long-time companion (22 years!). It was a fabulous weekend, the weather was perfect and everyone was so happy. Then tragically my brother passed away on October 14th. He learned that he had pancreatic cancer in March. He had surgery to remove the tumor and then he was supposed to start chemo. That kept getting postponed as he had one setback after another. He was to start again the day after we all left northern California, 9/6. I believe he had a mini-stroke and just went downhill after that. My sister and I attended his memorial service the weekend before Thanksgiving. We both talked about our brother and then asked if anyone else wanted to say a few words. Our cousin from Chicago spoke about his early years with our brother. They were five months apart and spent their first eleven years together. Then Aunt Lilah, my father’s sister, told a few tales about him too. It was a nice weekend and there were close to 70 people at his memorial and that was nice to see.
Below is what I spoke about my brother. And below that are a few photos.
I’m Joel’s younger sister and we’re 13 years apart so we didn’t really know each other that well but he was always there for me and I can’t believe that he’s gone. I had a difficult time when David Bowie died, one, because it was such a shock and two, because, well, there was always David Bowie!! As far back as I can remember, there was always David Bowie so it really hurt to learn that Bowie was gone. And before Bowie, there was always my brother and now they’re both gone. They were the same age too. But I want to focus on the fact that Joel was always there for me, beginning with our father’s death when I was 11. I have a vivid memory of us at the funeral and Joel put his arm around me to comfort me. Then when our father’s dog needed to be put down I called my brother because that dog was the last tangible thing that I had of my father. And I just couldn’t bear to do that task so Joel did that for me. He was there when I bought my first car and he was there for my high school and college graduations. He was there at the airport when I left for a year of study in Spain. I’m not sure if he knew how much I appreciated him always being there but I did tell him how much I loved that he gave me away at my wedding. He was the perfect choice. And because of our age difference you can hear someone on my wedding video saying “that must be Mr. Nadler”. Well, they were right but I think they thought he was my father.
I’m still not quite over David Bowie’s death and I know it will take me a while to process that my brother is no longer here. But he lived a good life and got married to the love of his life just over two months ago. I was so happy and grateful to be able to attend the wedding to see him one last time. I know that he died happy and he was so loved. And really, that’s all any of us can hope for. Well done my dear brother. I love you and I miss you. Rest in peace.
While in northern California for my brother’s wedding we visited a vineyard. Look for a future post about that. Here’s a sneak preview and one from his wedding in September: