I was in Washington DC for three days attending meetings for the College of Western Idaho along with Guy Hurlbutt, a fellow trustee. Guy is the quintessential Southern gentleman, and he visited family in South Carolina prior to our meeting.
Guy asked me during the session in an apologetic way if he could use my laptop to access flight arrangements. Almost as an aside, he told me he needed to head back to South Carolina after our meeting because his older brother had died. It was bittersweet that Guy had the opportunity to visit his 85 year old brother and was there when he passed. But, nevertheless, Guy lost his brother.
My oldest brother arrives tomorrow for the first visit with the family in about 18 months. Our mom and step-dad arrive tonight on the bus for the visit. My brother turned 59 a few weeks ago, and I'm 48. Our brothers are 57 and 54 respectively. I couldn't help but think of my brothers when Guy delivered his tough news in his typically gracious manner.
I simply cannot conceive of losing my brothers. Though months may go by without seeing each other, I suppose the knowledge of their presence is comforting. Certainly, we have had and have differences of opinion. We are all different people. The years have set us on different paths after so many years working unusually close together.
But we are still brothers after all.
I got my computer up and running for Guy and quietly left my hotel room out of respect for his loss and his privacy. As I shut the door I glanced at him sitting before the computer and wondered how I would react (note, I avoided the word "will") to the news of losing a brother.
I will hug my brothers especially tight this weekend.