Friday April 10th 2020, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

After ten years of trying to have a family, their daughter was three and their twin boys were two weeks old when this happened. I’ve told the story here before but it’s been a goodly while and today’s a day that needs the telling of it.

They are just the nicest people ever. They had moved into a house about a mile from us and when the movers pulled away, a neighbor came by to introduce himself and welcome them to the neighborhood. He happened to mention that back in 1955, there’d been a very high tide with a monster storm and the houses on their street had taken quite a flooding. Just something to know about the place.

A few years later, the babies had just come home from the hospital and the rain was not like anything you usually see here and it had been a hard downpour all day long.

I remember that day vividly: I was on the freeway going to Berkeley to replace my kid’s lost sheet music at the only place that sold copies, with a school concert the next night (the music teacher later told me, All you had to do was ask me, I could have given you guys one!) when one windshield wiper suddenly broke and jammed the other one and I couldn’t even see the truck in front of me much less the cars to either side.

Yeah. It was like that. With his family turned in for as much of a night as you get with newborn twins, Brad was watching the local news, waiting for the weather report.

King tide tonight, they warned as they reported on where the major flooding was.

He opened the front door to see if the water was coming up in their street like that guy had warned them about.

His koi from the pond in their back yard suddenly swam past his feet on their way to the Bay. Freedom! Explorations ahead!

He told that story with a laugh for years. (He also evacuated his family to friends whose house was on higher ground and spent the night lifting everything onto cinderblocks. It was months before the house was livable again but at least he could save their stuff, and he did. I forever after imagined how tired he must have been as he just kept on going anyway.)

My Richard was their home teacher from church.

One time, Brad’s wife put some oreos on a plate and told the now-two-year-old boys to go offer them to him. They did–but in between the kitchen and the living room, given that you had to scoot around a wall that made it so Mommy couldn’t quite see them doing it and the ones in the living room might not, the frosting part of those cookies somehow…vanished. Richard was offered a plate of somewhat soggy dark plain rounds. Well, mostly still round.

Hey, when two sweet little toddlers offer you a goodie you know they want, you eat one to teach them to see how your eyes light up and how grateful you are for their generosity so they’ll want to do that for other people again. (One cookie was enough.)

Such sweet memories. They moved away to a better job and lower cost of living but we kept in touch over Facebook and I marveled that somehow their kids turned into young adults in spite of their not being here where I could see them do it in person.

Brad put up a post there yesterday, acknowledging that he rarely does but he wanted to reach out and say hi to everybody in all of our sheltering-in-place. (I’m sure he wanted us to know how much we really, really should.) He wanted his family, his friends, the whole world, to know how much he loved them.

He was wearing a big mask and his face was so thin–I had to look twice to make sure it was him.

He wrote that his was the first case of COVID-19 diagnosed in his county. And the first success. He’d been ill these past three weeks, in the ICU on a ventilator for two, but he had just moved out of there into a regular bed. He was off the ventilator. He was so weak, but he was getting better and he was so very very happy that he would get to see more of his kids’ lives from here on out.

I just now opened Facebook again.

The post was from Brad’s brother so his wife and children wouldn’t have to.

Brad is gone.

I am gutted.

16 Comments so far
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Oh, goodness. That’s not the ending I was expecting. I’m so very sorry. May the wonderful memories help ease your sorrow.

Comment by DebbieR 04.10.20 @ 11:34 pm

Oh, my! Somehow, I’m sorry to hear that just seems so trite, but I truly am sorry. I’m also grateful to know that you are well, and over whatever it was you had.

Comment by Anne 04.11.20 @ 3:22 am

I never knew the man but you made him real to me. I’m gutted too

Comment by Afton 04.11.20 @ 4:05 am

So sad to read this news. And too often the hopeful stories are having that ending. It’s a horrible lesson that this is a much wickeder virus than people think or understand. May his memory be for a blessing (which I think it already is).

Comment by Margo Lynn 04.11.20 @ 4:55 am

So, so sad…I’m sorry.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 04.11.20 @ 7:43 am

I am speechless and so sorry for your loss – and theirs.

Sending you, your family a warm hug and a prayer of comfort to his family.

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 04.11.20 @ 8:29 am

Oh, no. I am so, so sorry.

Comment by ccr in MA 04.11.20 @ 10:43 am

Oh that is such difficult news. It would have seemed that things were going well. Blessings and light and comfort to everyone he touched in his life.
Chris S

Comment by Chris S in Canada 04.11.20 @ 11:56 am

So sad, so sorry. There are no words.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 04.11.20 @ 1:11 pm

A shocking ending to a story that had made me smile. So sad for you, and for his family to0.
May you be comforted by knowing that your blog friends care. Dee

Comment by DeAnn Jochen 04.11.20 @ 1:40 pm

May his memory be a blessing to all.

Comment by Leslie 04.11.20 @ 6:54 pm

Oh man. What a hard story. I am so sad to hear this. The worst part is that this is familiar, this virus can be very difficult to beat. Years ago, I wrote an opinion piece about whether our health system could deal with an epidemic. And in that piece, I included a reference to the flu. The editor took it out–people don’t die from flu, she said! It’s not that bad. But I knew they did, I’d read about the 1918 flu. Maybe too many of us let overconfident editors allow us to believe viruses were no big deal…

Comment by Joanne 04.12.20 @ 7:45 am

Oh, I am so very sorry.

Comment by Pegi F 04.12.20 @ 9:25 am

I have no words.

Comment by Nancy G 04.12.20 @ 12:39 pm

I’m so sorry. Brad sounds like a lovely person. Sending virtual hugs to you and Brad’s family.

Comment by mary 04.14.20 @ 8:46 pm

So sorry. Especially knowing that there will be many more for whom I need to be sorry before we are done.

Comment by twinsetellen 04.19.20 @ 8:58 pm

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