Just got back yesterday from California, where my middle brother John died suddenly. He was not yet 60, a dear, creative man who loved alcohol too much. We've always proclaimed proudly, "There are six kids--three of each." The remaining five siblings all came together to help with arrangements and to clean up his mobile home. It was very helpful to have this task to do--we could remember Johnny while we threw away junk, sorted belongings, put stuff on Craigslist and scrubbed out the kitchen. Then we spent a day shipping his guitars and inlaid wooden bowls to various nieces and nephews, and on Sunday (after attending the church where we all were confirmed long ago) we enjoyed a memorial party at his favorite bar. Everybody wore tiedye, as John did whenever he played with his band, and many brought their instruments to jam. It was an amazing day. None of the brothers and sisters live near one another, so we had no idea how many people loved John. Friends had flown in from other states. People brought food. We danced, cried, sang, ate and drank. I was hugged by a whole lot of utter strangers.
Anyway, I haven't edited all the photos, but will try to get some up later. I'm starting work on a fiber piece about John I was planning a quilt for him (I had made him one years ago, but the man must have washed it with lye or something--it was in shreds!) He won't need a new quilt now, but a memorial might work. His ashes are to be placed in the copper container he made for our parents' ashes (which have now been deposited in the lake in northern Minnesota where they were so happy when they were young.) My sister Penny plans to deposit John's later in a place he loved.
And now we are five.