Today my brother-in-law, my husband’s older brother, passed away. Dennis wasn’t a flashy man. He was a quiet guy who loved to read. He made good choices and married a great lady and had wonderful children who were terrific older cousins to our children.
Our families spent many happy times together at family get-togethers in Grandma and Grandpa’s big back yard in Sandy. We often visited Dennis’s house as well, and always felt welcome. He and his wife’s generosity and hospitality were beyond belief. Their door was always open to visitors.
As a boy, my husband shared a room with his brother in the downstairs basement for many years. The girls had one room, and the boys had the other. But there was an age gap of six years and so my husband saw Dennis as an almost grown-up older hero. Six years is a big age difference when you’re a kid. He remembers that Dennis was a sharp dresser, admired in school, a good tennis player, and that he always seemed to be going to a part-time job.
It wasn’t until the military when their unit was activated that the two brothers became friends and equals. With their fellow soldier and friend, Don, they formed a singing group and had a wonderful time performing at various functions. The influence of Dennis and Don inspired my husband to serve a mission soon after he returned home from the military.
Dennis had already been on a mission to the southern states when their unit was called up. Afterwards, he continued in the reserves until he earned a high ranking. He loved the military. In fact, his hobby was reading about war history and he was an authority on the topic. He would become very animated and excited when he talked about history and historical events. He seemed to love learning in general and studied hard in school, eventually becoming a social worker.
Dennis and my husband had their good times but also some misunderstandings. It’s like that in life and with siblings. They were very different in some ways and very alike in others. But what never changed was the underlying love. The deep love and respect my husband felt for his brother was evident when he took his hand for the last time.
Dennis, we will miss you. You fought a mighty battle and earned a medal of valor in this last war with an enemy called cancer. We salute you. We love you. May you receive a hero’s welcome as you enter the gates of heaven.
(Note: I posted this the evening of the 19th, not the 20th. I think this must be going by Eastern time.)