I am angry.
I am angry because this did not have to happen.
I am angry that a Covid-denier without a morsel of human decency thought that he knew better than anyone else and went to work ill.
Let us not confuse this with people who may not have been symptomatic right away or symptomatic at all who spread Covid innocently without realizing it. This was a denier.
My brother was careful. He did not travel. He was not out in restaurants or at parties. He went to work and he went home.
I am angry that the last year and 3 months of my brother’s life were spent in and out of hospitals, chest tubes, surgeries, oxygen and suffering.
I am angry for his wife, my sister in law. They have been together since they were teenagers.
Forty five years together and he is gone. What do you do with that?
I am angry that she had to be as strong as she had to be throughout his illness. She was always there for him and she never stopped being strong for him. I am grateful that he had someone so strong that could take charge while also being a huge support to him.
I am angry for my niece.
The relationship between my niece and her father was one that most people would (or should) aspire to. He was determined to and succeeded in becoming a better parent than many of us hope to be or believe that we are. He was her father, her friend, her rock, so much so that he become a father-figure to many of her friends.
I am angry that the last conversation I was able to have with him was about giving me the news that he was being moved to hospice.
But my brother; he was not angry. He was accepting of what was to come.
He told me that he had a good life; an odd life, but a good life. He was at peace with his situation.
And he did have a good life. He had friends … some very good friends and a family that loved him.
There was never any question that he WAS LOVED by many, and he appreciated the time that he had.
But he should have had more.
During what would be our last conversation, the mission he assigned me with was “You’re are the writer in the family. You have to make sure that everyone knows what a great guy I was.”
He was partially joking but still I am here trying to adhere to his last request of me.
I do not even know how to put in writing just what a “great guy” he was. If you knew him; you already know this to be true.
Skip was my brother, my confidant and my best friend in life. Of course we had our ups and downs when we were younger, as most siblings do, but there were far more ups and the downs were nothing that we did not get over quickly – and so few of those, that I cannot even remember what they might have been about right now.
It has been a month since he has gone and I still find myself picking up the phone to text him about something goofy or a conversation I had, or a television show I am watching. It still does not feel real. I am not sure when it will feel real.
But I am supposed to be telling you about what a great guy he was, since I am “the writer in the family”. I do not feel like much of a writer right now. I am still angry and my anger continues to rear it’s ugly head when I talk about it, so I am going to use my sister-in-law and niece’s words to tell you a little bit about Skip’s life. You will see that yes, it was a good life, but you will also see that there should have been more.
(The following was edited to remove last names and specific locations as this blog is normally about my son and our life – where I don’t use DC’s real name, our last name or where we live to protect my son’s anonymity)
Skip was an artisan craftsman known worldwide for being one of a handful of whip makers who still made American Bullwhips. He was featured in the Discovery UK series “History in The Making,” which focused on skilled craftsmen making historically significant items using the original, time-honored methods.
Skip was a gifted magician, known for his cards and coin sleight of hand. For years he performed as part of the team, Vic and Earl, the Earl being his best friend. For over 30 years, they worked together honing their magic act that evolved and changed over the years. They were best known for their side show routines, particularly Crime and Punishment, which they performed with friend and cohort, Dave.
Skip was also a published author. He had articles featured in the Magic Menu, a Close-Up Magic Periodical for Professional Restaurant and Bar Magicians, of which he was also the art director for during its early years. He was a contributor to the book Magic and Meaning with Eugene Berger, and was a founding member of the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magic.
Most recently Skip worked with his sister Vickie on, “Yeah, That Can’t Be Good” – A Eureka rewatch podcast. Listeners would comment that the episodes in which Skip was co-host were some of the best, due to the fun exchange between Skip and Vickie on-air.
Skip was a man who took pride in all that he did. His day job as a head custodian spanned over 40 years. Retiring from one city, he went on to work for another school district in a nearby town. He went above and beyond ensuring that his building was a clean and safe environment for the students and staff. He not only took care of the building and grounds, but he was also considered part of a team of educators. Skip shared his knowledge and led by example. He did mini workshops on the engineering and design of whips, how to start a small business and design a web page at the high school, as well as, cards and coins for the students at the Middle School.
I miss him everyday.
Donations in his name can be made to DC’s summer camp. Just use “Skip” – they will know who it is for.
CampNerden.com (donation button on the top left of the page)
Mailing Address: – P.O. Box 2617 – Meriden, CT 06451