Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My brother, My Don Quixote

In memory of my dear brother,
 12 November 1947 to 22 May 2010.
My brother fought windmills of injustice with passion and compassion until the end of his short life.  He loved the idea of Don Quixote, translating it from the Cervantes novel to his daily life, this Spanish symbol of change and hope.

Loren was an environmentalist, a progressive, a justice crusader to the end.  He struggled bravely to find himself and his purpose in life.  He wrote his autobiography, An Asperger Journey, about growing up with "a problem that had no name" until he was in his mid-50s. He embraced the goddess and transcendent spirituality, knew all the literature, taught me and others. He was our mother's best friend and caregiver.

He died of a heart attack, suddenly, while on an arduous hike along the Aucilla river in northern Florida. May 22, 2010.  I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine when I got the call and had to make the sad trip to Tallahasssee for his memorial service.  His book came out a few months later.  Andy struggled with it, struggled with the memory of police at her door on a Saturday afternoon, stepped up to celebrate his book and comfort his friends.

When I was in San Miguel this winter I thought about how much Loren would have loved Mexico, like he loved being in Costa Rica, a special journey we took together.  I had planned to share time with him in San Miguel, too, when I got out of the Peace Corps, but it was not meant to be.

Some people say he's here with me.  I hope so, but I doubt it.  I wish I could talk with him, walk with him from the Instituto to the Jardin, from the Parroquia to the Artisans Mercado.  He could tell me so much about it; he would know and understand.  I wish he could visit me and my kids and grandkids here in Sylvania.  He'd love walking with us around the neighborhood and in the metro parks, and holding Chase. We'd be watching some NBA games together now, Loren filling me in on the biographies of every player and the statistics of the game.

How I wish I could hear him talk about what's going on the the world today, in America, in all the faraway places he had studied. I wish we could look up at the sky and see the moon together.  I miss his rants and his perspective.  I miss my brother, my Don Quixote.  The world is not the same without Loren in it.   
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