How To Say Goodbye When Someone You Love Has Died

You tell stories about them. For example, my brother Tuck was a beer-drinking, joke-telling, dog-loving moonshiner.  But, recently, two Irish eyes stopped smiling.  What I mean to say is, after years of battling ill health, just five days after his 78th birthday on August 19th, he gave up the fight.  Somehow it feels unreal to say goodbye.

My Mom had a favorite whenever she needed to get a condolence card. It’s a poem by James Whitcomb Riley. The main point of it is:

Tuck was always the leader of the pack, beloved by his family and friends.  In fact, any get-together was missing something if he wasn’t there. During his many years in the U.S. Navy, he traveled all around the world. He had lots of good stories and we all loved to listen. Man, he could paint a picture like no one else.  We always hated to say goodbye when he had to go.

Tuck and Mary stood up as godparents to my daughter Cheyenne in Miami in 1987. Here are a few pictures from the brunch afterward. The pix show them with my daughter Nicolette.

Tuck and Nico, Miami 1987

Going to visit Tuck and Mary was always an adventure. Their home is in the Osceola National Forest near Lake City, FL. From the pond to the chicken coop to the ATV and the visiting wildlife, there’s always something going on. It’s kind of like going away to a camp that you never want to leave.

Here’s an example of some of the shenanigans that Tuck pulled off.

Cheyenne battles the bobcat at Tuck’s house.

As a young girl, I remember when Tuck joined the Navy.  Whenever he came home on leave he always had gifts for us. I really liked it because he would bring me beautiful dolls from the countries he visited.  I was so proud of my collection.

Beautiful dolls from around the world.
Beautiful flamenco doll from Spain circa 1960.

It was always like a holiday when he came home. But, when leave was over and he said goodbye, the tears would fall.

Mary made a surprise birthday party for Tuck for his 75th birthday. It was very cool. She rented a house for us to stay in and got a limo to drive all of us and a bunch of his friends to my brother’s favorite Mexican restaurant. Oh, what a night…La Cerveza did flow!

Tuck, Joyce, Barbara, & Roy

Tuck, I’ll always remember the things you taught me and how much you loved me. Your memory is a treasure I hold in my heart.

Your loving sister, Barbara


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