I am from an amazing family that I love dearly. Growing up we were known as that big family with “7 girls and 2 boys”. Mary Lee, Hobby, Anne Therese, Carolyn, Laura, Joanie, Marita, Bridget, and Eric. Ask any of us to say those name in birth order and you will hear a quick succession of 9 names being blurted out with no breath taken in between. You see, throughout our lives, we have had numerous competitions over who could say our names the fastest without messing up.
Last Wednesday, October 4, 2017, our favorite brother, Hobby, who we also called Bob, died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack. Now the 7 girls and 1 boy who remain all have broken hearts. One-ninth of our family chain has suddenly been taken away from our lives and it hurts.
Bob was the glue that held our family together. During the recent deaths of our parents, Bob made some very tough decisions so the rest of us didn’t have to. He worked tirelessly, most of the time without our knowledge to make sure everything was taken care of including fixing up our Dad’s house to prepare it to sell.
Bob also cared about everyone, no matter if you were homeless or the CEO of a company. He treated everyone with equal importance. We just didn’t realize just how much he cared about everyone he met until we listened to story after story being told at his funeral. It was evident that his heart overflowed with love and compassion for every stranger he met, every person he worked with, and every one of his 8 siblings.
I am so very thankful that I moved back home 3 years ago because it gave me the opportunity to spend time with Bob. He made me laugh with his ridiculous dry sense of humor and deep mumbling voice. At least once a week, I received a text or email from him that began with “FS” and it was always signed “FB”. Each of us girls knew we were each his “FS” favorite sister, and he was the “FB” favorite brother. Eric thought it was a great example of how much he cared for all of us with a big dose of his humor added in.
Bob loved God and he loved sharing God’s love with other people. He constantly was looking for someone he could help. A lady that worked for him told us how she had three flat tires and he bought tires for her, another said he would carry care packages with food and toothbrushes in his truck and hand them to complete strangers on the street, another said Bob found them an apartment to rent and helped them with the down payment.
Last summer, I made a Harley Davidson t-shirt quilt to help raise money for my friend Todd who has cancer. With the help of another friend, we raised $1000. When the ticket for the winner was drawn it had Bob’s name on it. He called me the next day after winning and told me he had decided to reraffle the quilt and that he was going to raise $10,000 for Todd. I thought he was crazy but he called me weekly assuring me that the money was coming in. When he told me he was going to biker bars and hangouts to sell raffle tickets, I definitely knew he was crazy! But he persevered until he had raised $9000. Together with my donation, he met his goal.
But Bob didn’t stop with just handing Todd the money. He prayed for Todd faithfully. You see Todd has a very rare blood cancer and all of the people who were in the same treatment with him have since died. But Bob never stopped praying for him and I believe Todd is still alive today because of Bob’s faithfulness to pray for him.
Every Christmas, Bob would dress up as Santa and take his grandchildren dressed up as angels, to the hospital and go room to room bringing glad tidings to the sick. He went back the second day if any patient had been missed. My brother walked this earth solely to show God’s love to everyone who crossed paths with him. That’s what he lived for and that is how he died. The night before he died, he had taken a friend from work to a church service. The hour before he died, he was working with his staff discussing how to acquire more homes for homeless men.
Some say my brother is in a better place. I know he is and I know I will see him again. It’s just really hard to say goodbye to my FB.
God has blessed me with the rest of the FAV8 as we now call ourselves. We will always be “7 girls and 2 boys” for we are a whole chain that is merely missing a link. One day that chain will be reunited in Heaven. That alone brings me comfort.
FB, I miss you so much,