This would have been my big brother's 40th birthday. He died last October. It's really hard to see that in print- I still have a hard time believing he's gone. Jeff had Leukemia, and was in the hospital due to complications. It wasn't the first time he'd had issues with his medication, so although I was concerned, it looked like they'd be able to switch medications, and he should be fine. In fact, he was responding well to the new medications, but he was having problems breathing. I called him at the hospital, and although he was only able to talk for a few minutes I told him I loved him before I hung up. I am so glad I did. The next day he was moved to ICU, and the day after he passed away. I really expected him to get better. I thought I'd be able to call him when he got home and we'd chat about his cat and dog, reminisce about Anne, his cat who had passed away several months earlier, and just BS about whatever. I wish I could have seen him more. He lived in Washington state and I live in Ohio, and neither of us could afford to travel. I wish he could see what I'm doing online right now. Jeff was an amazing computer programmer. He knew a computer like nobody else. You had a tech question, you called Jeff. He also loved fantasy. I remember him playing Dungeons and Dragons when we were kids. At that age I didn't know much about the game, but I did like looking through all his D&D books with the cool characters and beasts. Once World of Warcraft came out he became a huge fan. This was perfect for Jeff- it combined computers, a huge online community, and fantasy role playing. Jeff is a big reason why I started making plush World of Warcraft characters. It's a small way I can share a piece of his world. He always enjoyed my artwork and encouraged me to keep at it. There's so much I want to share with him. He was way too young. He could have accomplished so much in this world. Not only am I incredibly sad that he was taken from us, I'm angry that he was never allowed to reach his full potential and live the life he deserved.
He was good big brother. I remember him walking me home from kindergarten, and all his friends were teasing him about it. He completely ignored them and walked me home from school every day. I felt a lot safer with my big brother by my side. He used to take my little brother Mike and I out trick or treating every Halloween. He would try to plan the best route so we'd get the most candy before we got too tired. He was so special- I only hope he knew that. He was very protective of me, Mike, Gramma, and later BJ, my youngest brother. Not many people knew Jeff really well, but those who did were privileged enough to know him personally were lucky indeed. I love him, I miss him, and I still mourn for him. I hope he knows he is not forgotten, and he MATTERED.
Happy birthday Jeff, from your little sister.