My Only Brother

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In case some of you didn’t know…
Occasionally, I enjoy sharing personal posts.I am a real human after all, and I am also a woman,
so that means I have lots to say! (ha ha)
I am actually pretty quiet in person, and enjoy quiet, so writing is an outlet for me.
Not only a creative one, but a spiritual one as well.
Every sentence comes straight from my heart.
We may not always share the same opinions at all times, on all subjects,
and I certainly would not expect us to.However, I do hope that through some of my life
experiences I can possibly inspire some of you to “see”
things you may not see otherwise.
After all, we never stop learning no matter how much we think we know 🙂

This is not meant to provoke a debate &
I will only acknowledge or approve comments that are respectful.

It’s almost the end of Summer…
which happens to be when my one and only brother…

“Bobby”

was born…it was August 26, 1960…

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Happy Birthday Bobby!!!

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He’s quite handsome isn’t he?
I am Bobby’s youngest sister of 3…
I decided his birthday would be a great opportunity to write/share a personal post dedicated to him, about him.
Here is a picture of Bobby and I in the Adirondack’s in the 70’s.
I remember this day clearly.

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Bobby was 10 years my senior…
I grew up admiring him.
I think this picture reflects that perfectly.
It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized how much
we had in common and how much of what I admired, I shared with him.
My parents worked hard to provide for us and did everything they could to protect us and keep us healthy.

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All of us children were very tight.
I had a blast being the youngest and “getting my way” because of that status.
My oldest Sister, Diane was the “Mother hen” God bless her.
She had her hands full.
She loved us and kept us in line.
Still does.
My Brother was the “comedian, life of the party, charmer”…
he had more girl “friends” than we could count and
he was always having FUN.
He also was very protective of his sister’s and would run around the house singing:”We are family!  I got all my sisters with me!”
I can still here his voice…he was hilarious.
Just so funny and full of life.

My other Sister, Carolyn was a mix of both…
She took great care of me, but she liked to have fun like her older Bro too.

She would cut my hair and do my nails.

I was blessed with lots of love from all of my siblings…

Here is proof…
it was the day before I married the love of my life.

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The Summer before my freshman year in high school my sis Di invited me to a camping trip with her and her friends…

We were 12 years apart so it was very nice of her to include me.

While on the trip, I went to the store with one of Di’s friend’s who also happened to be one of Bobby’s friend’s.
On the way back…she asked…
“What do you think about your brother being gay?”

I was 14 and I had no idea how to respond.
To tell you the truth, I don’t remember my response.

That ride to the store changed my life…
or should I say it woke me up.

Everything started falling into place…
Why didn’t I figure this out sooner?
It really wasn’t something we discussed as a family…
but there were plenty of clues I missed.

Are you ready for the reason I am sharing this with you…

Not once did it matter in our family.

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My parents and I, along with my sister’s, accepted my
Brother for being gay… immediately, unconditionally, and without hesitation.
To be completely honest…
It didn’t phase or rattle our family unit at all.
It allowed us to know Bobby better for the person he was born to be.
We loved him and learned by watching him with his partner that this was what made him happy.
It wasn’t a behavior he learned, or a choice he made.
It wasn’t something he could control.
Our family welcomed Bobby’s partner into our home and we celebrated holidays & birthdays together loving each other just like any family would.
Bobby was able to be himself and we loved him for it.—

When I first started dating my husband of almost 20 years, I sat him down and told him I had something to tell him.

He looked scared, but I continued on and told him,
“My Brother is gay.”
Was it a test?

Darn right it was.

He passed…with flying colors.
His response?
“So what!?”

Here we are having dinner together
before Rick & I were married…

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He was a fabulous decorator and he loved all things home.
So creative…

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He even took cake decorating classes…
sure wish he could have tried some of my pink lemonade cake last Spring.
Here is one of his cakes…

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 He had beautiful style and exquisite taste that came so natural,
and he could cook you a meal that looked like it came from Betty herself.
I keep this photo of my brother in my pantry:

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He keeps me laughing!

One of the reasons I have opened up my eyes to my own creativity is because of my Brother.

He has been a true inspiration to me my entire life.

We all need to be brave like Bobby
and not worry how others will react
if we let out who we innately are.

Bobby was not afraid to be himself.
I am so proud to be his sister.

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Bobby died on October 30, 1995 from AIDS
at the age of 35.
Our family has never been the same since his departure to heaven.
We continue to struggle through the pain that a family goes through after losing a loved one too soon.
We share stories with our children about Uncle Bobby and they can’t get enough.
Don’t waste any time.

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PS: Our family and friends decided to participate in “The Names Project Foundation”…more info found here.This extraordinary organization just celebrated it’s 25th anniversary last June.Here is my contribution…a gum ball machine he loved with the rainbow gumballs representing his pride in being a gay man and the red coming out representing his fight against this horrible disease that still has no cure.

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My family visited Washington in 1996 and was able to view Bobby’s panel within the quilt that spread over the mall.The quilt was recently displayed once again in Washington and now contains 48,000 panels and weighs 54 tons.Over 600,000 people have died in the United States from AIDS according to
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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If you would like to make a donation to The Names Project, please send it to the address I have provided.
This is a non-profit Atlanta, GA based organization.
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12 Responses

  1. […] a kid asking Mom & Dad for a penny, but because my brother loved them and I lost him too soon (story here).Gum ball machines are also very colorful, fun, and versatile in any home.But do they always have to […]

  2. […] If you would like to read my story about him, you can find it here:  “My Only Brother”. […]

  3. Oh, Julie ~ I am so sorry about the loss of your brother but so glad that you had such a loving relationship with an obviously wonderful man and that he inspired you to share your creativity. He goes on in your stories and will always be a part of your passion for life. Thanks so much for allowing me a glimpse into your family.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to your brother!
    My brother Rob died of a heart attack in 2006 at 47 yrs old. Our family and extended family didn’t “blink” when Rob came out. Nobody cared–just like your family! It wasn’t the same with everyone else and he did have some horribly sad times. So many don’t have the love and support of their family. When my daughter Kate was three I knew she was gay. She came out when she graduated (at least she thought she did–everyone who knew her had figured it our already). Again, not a soul, family or friends cared when she came out! People like our brothers paved the way for my daughter’s generation– it wasn’t easy for them. To stand completely in who they were wasn’t always received well. A lot of people reacted out of fear and these wonderful men and women paid a great price for that. Thank goodness that things are getting better and acceptance is becoming more the norm. I still find it hard to understand how some people can turn their backs on someone they claim to love. We were very lucky to have our brothers and I thank God every day. Life isn’t the same.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you Karen…You are right…they did pave the way. I feel exactly the way you do. Life isn’t the same 🙁

  5. How did I miss this in August?? Love you and your beautiful family. So sorry about the loss of your brother. I am one of three – the only girl. One older brother and one younger. XO

  6. debbiedoos says:

    What a touching heartfelt story! I loved and read every word for word. How blessed you all were to have Bobby in your life. The memories will last a lifetime. I am so glad you started this blog as an inspiration and I’m sure driven by your brother. He looked like a hoot and so much fun! Great pic to have in the pantry.

  7. Glenda White says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your brother. My daughter took me to the AIDS memorial garden in San Francisco. It is so beautiful and peaceful there. There have been way to many lost to this horrible disease.

  8. Leslee rau says:

    Oh my Julie, I just finished writing a rough draft for a volunteer talk I ‘ll be giving at our religious meeting in afew weeks. The subject : hope of seeing our dead loved ones again. I’ve spend most of the morning and afternoon working on it the took a break and went onto my iPad to find your heart speaking to us. I too lost my big brother a few years back. We too were so similar in many ways. I so related to your feelings. Just wishing I could see and talk to him again. He always made me laugh. So witty. My heart and love are wrapped around you in a big hug. John 5:28,29 in the bible brings me hope and comfort, because that promise pertains to that happening here on the earth at a better time. Forgive me that comes across preachy. Not intended. Just wanted to share it’s solace. My love……

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