Thursday, November 30, 2006

' This Little Light of Mine . . . '

The following are words I wrote -- and managed to deliver only partially last May -- in memory of my brother (technically, my half-brother, but nothing 'half' about him), Thomas Richard Hayes, who died on this day one year ago. The names won't matter to you; the emotions will. My apologies if this is an imposition. Thanks for listening, if you choose to read.

Requiescat in pace.

Anyone here who knew Richard, or Tom, even casually, knows that he is the one in the photograph with the easy smile, he is the one with the ready laugh, and he is the one with the gentle manner, the easy touch. That we know. And that we honor and celebrate today. Before going any further, thank you, Beverly and Laurie, for asking me to share these few words, however difficult it may be.

He was a good man: a steady worker, a devoted husband and father, a caring son, a faithful friend. But for me, most of all, he was my brother. And since he was so much older than me, I idolized him. When he left, around 1955, to go to the Air Force, we missed him then, as we do now. And so did a squirrel he had befriended, a squirrel he apparently had taken to feeding. These many years later, I can still see that squirrel scampering up to our second-floor apartment on Oak Street, scratching at the door, somewhat angry and confused, missing his treat, missing Richard, wondering, Where did he go?

He went to places like Bellevue, Illinois; Baudette, Minnesota; Madison, Wisconsin; Wyoming; and Japan. And he wrote handwritten letters to me, little treasures that came in special red, white, and blue airmail envelopes. Nothing more extraordinary than a retelling of his day, and asking about his little brother. One hot summer night, we heard a tap at the door at our home on Myano Lane. Richard was home! An unexpected leave. He had driven all day or all night, or both, to thrill us with a visit. Home--only to leave again, some 30 days later.

If I recall correctly, when I was in Fourth Grade, Richard was in Japan. Sapporo, I think. His being there inspired me to study all about that land and its people and its customs. I probably knew more about Mount Fuji than anyone else in class. Richard sent us chinaware from Japan (why do they call it china?), and a beautiful ornamental doll with jet-black hair held by a comb. The doll still stands in a glass case in Mom’s bedroom. And he sent Jack and me these real cool reversible jackets, silk on one side and velour on another; mine was decorated with a fierce-looking dragon. Very cool. Plus he gave me a little military reflector mirror for signaling to rescuers. I’m sure I annoyed everyone around with it. I treasured it.

Fast forward many, many years, and I was to learn that Richard’s greatest gift to me (and to so many of us) was yet to come. I am not a golfer. Richard was. One Monday afternoon, early last November, as his days were dwindling down like the crisp sparkling leaves falling from the trees up North, we spent, an hour or two at a driving range not far from his beloved Florida home. I believe it was Beverly’s or Laurie’s clubs I used, no less. The sun beat down on us. We both wore straw hats. He was too weak to play. He sat on a nearby bench and what did he do? He mentored me, encouraged me, nurtured me. Try this club, now this one. No, you did all right. That’s good. Your’re doing fine. No, that’s okay. That’s better. A little slower. There you go. Now try this. There you go.

And he took a few snapshots of that snapshot of our lives, and I of him, we with our straw hats, our shorts, our smiles. Our perfect moment in the sun. And so, in death as in life, there was Richard, Tom, as always, ever kind and gentle, patient and loving, easygoing and comfortable. Uncomplaining. Grateful. Our moment in the sun. Literally and truly, who could ask for anything more? Where could I buy such a precious gift? And so, like a young airman leaving in the middle of the night, I bade my brother goodbye in the early November morning, the following day. We knew it was goodbye for now, as he rested his head on the pillow covering his childhood prayer book, as I told him I loved him, and in my heart thanked him for this great lesson, this final gift. The gift was this: be not afraid, it’s okay, there you go. He taught us how to die with grace and serenity, just as he had lived. And for that we are all here to thank him today.

I confess I am like that squirrel long ago, scratching at the screen, angrily or sadly wondering where our Richard, our Tom, has gone to. Perhaps the answer is in the Gospel of John from this year’s Easter reading. Mary Magdalene is at the empty tomb. She, like us, is weeping. Twice, an unrecognized Jesus says to her, “Why are you weeping?” In her grief, she does not recognize him. Then he says her name. It clicks. She gets it. She recognizes him. “Teacher!” she exclaims. And, for me, the teacher who taught me how to whack golf balls on a Monday afternoon, he himself shone with the light of that same Teacher recognized near the empty tomb. And the lessons are the same:

“What falls away is always. And is near.”

“…we saw / The God within him light his face…”

and, finally:

“…redeemed from death, and grief, and pain, / I soon shall find my friend again / Within the arms of God.


John 20: 13-15
John 20: 17
Theodore Roethke, “The Waking”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In Memoriam A.H.H.”
Charles Wesley, “If Death My Friend and Me Divide”


Anonymous said... have known him was a blessing for you!!

thanks so much for sharing this -- no laughs today but here's a BIG HUG for you!!!

sammyray said...

Thanks Pawlie for sharing this! I am sorry for your loss, but in this life, getting to know someone wonderful like your brother for such a great length of time is a special privelege. I am glad to see how much he meant to you, and how much you treasure what you had.

sammyray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
novaks8 said...

I just found your blog.

I am sorry for your loss.

My mother called last night to tell me that her older brother has been diagnosed with cancer and it doesn't look good.

What could I say but sorry?

Death can really rip your heart out.

Margaret said...

That was beautiful and so well written and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful image of your brother.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. In peace. tranquil.

No, you never really get over a sibling, no matter how old or anything.

Anonymous said... you and your brother.....a beautiful tribute as I'm sure he was also aware of how you felt when he was here.

Anonymous said...

This is really beautiful. I can't imagine the pain of losing a sibling. I don't think I could deal. Peace to you both.

rip said...

I'm sure there is an internet café in heaven, and your brother drops in every now and then, and he feels honoured and grateful when he reads this post.

Anonymous said...

I've already downloaded the sdk and have everything set up, I've made some simple apps from a few limited helloworld tutorials, but I really want to get serious with this and I really don't know where to look for good lessons in iPhone dev. Any help at all is appreciated, and iPhone developers, where did you get started? Thanks!

[url=]unlock iphone[/url]

Anonymous said...

[b]open source educational software, [url=]adobe creative suite 3 key recovery[/url]
[url=][/url] nero & software stores
shop cs software [url=]education discount on software[/url] free download of adobe photoshop cs2 for mac
[url=]kaon softwares price comparison[/url] academic discount software
[url=]buy photoshop 8[/url] educational discount software
buy to let software [url=]software programs to buy[/url][/b]

Anonymous said...

[b]2009 Mac Retail, [url=]anti virus software to buy[/url]
[url=]acdsee serial[/url] macromedia shockwave software microsoft office 2003 student
buy cheap adobe software [url=]developing educational software[/url] Master Collection Mac
[url=]buy business software[/url] price check software
[url=]kaspersky work space security reviews[/url] kristanix software button shop v3
buy bulk email software [url=]software for a shop[/url][/b]

Anonymous said...

[b]cheap graphic software, [url=]yahoo booting adobe photoshop cs3[/url]
[url=]you sell software[/url] oem software to autocad traffic signs
buy discount software [url=]Pro 11[/url] pc software downloads
[url=]autocad electrical symbols[/url] buy cheap software discount
[url=]free microsoft office enterprise 2007 product key[/url] adobe creative suite 4 master collection reviews
buy photoshop with [url=]discount oem software[/url][/b]

Anonymous said...

Taggart would sigh, they are. The lights and the flowers. They came to a clearing. But suppose I slipped up? The wrinkles of amusement deepened about his eyes. Thats a perfectly unwarranted assumption. And I cant say that I blame them, either. One cannot tell its nature, or its future .

Anonymous said...

She let her gaze trail slowly up the smooth, bare skin of his legs. Radin, however, turned to face her with a bright smile that showed clean white teeth. His harsh words rode their storm, a garrote of meaning that made her gurgle. He raised one eyebrow. She would not cause that fear tonight. His palm smoothed over her forehead, gently smoothing her hair back from her face. If youre tired, perhaps we should rearrange for another time with Hyle and Gala. Gala sat back, hands on Eyrhaens shoulders. She had given them a gift, and they were proud of—worried for—her. I could have been right! Angrily, she dashed tears from her eyes, stepping toward the outer door. Brevin had stepped aside, a huge shadow beside Tykirs shoulder. Its not the same without you. Should I take that as a yes? Did he take your ass? He held her hips, and they stayed still, simply enjoying the connection. She shrugged, sidestepping to lower herself to the edge of one of two couches. I doubt we could have flourished when every man is lover to only one woman. She could feel it in her soul. The sweet talk is no longer necessary, she murmured.

Anonymous said...

He swallowed, eyes still closed, as she wrapped her hand around his slippery, wet shaft. They had both recognized Salins unique voice when hed spoken through his mindlink with Radin. For a heartbeat, Nialdlye thought shed fall into Radins embrace and that Savous would follow. They had fought about it too often for Eyrhaen not to know what he meant. Then she opened her eyes.
[url=]black shot[/url]

Anonymous said...

hot lesbian teachers

Anonymous said...

Delete shis text plz. Sorry

Anonymous said...

bxuxzufji ugg ブーツ ugg ugg ムートン ugg 安い ugg スニーカー

ugg ムートン
ugg ブーツ
ugg ジミーチュウ
ugg ショートブーツ

[url=]アグ 激安[/url]
[url=]ugg ムートン[/url]
[url=]ugg ムートン[/url]

Anonymous said...

kbftflsgb ugg ベビー ugg ムートン アグ ugg ネイビー ugg クラシックミニ

ugg ブーツ
ugg ムートン
ugg ムートン
ugg ムートン

[url=]ugg キッズ[/url]
[url=]ugg クラシック[/url]

Anonymous said...

Ι do not even understanԁ hoω I finished up rіght here, but I beliеved
this submit ωаѕ οnce grеat.
I ԁon't recognise who you might be however certainly you're
going to a famоuѕ bloggeг in the event
yοu are not alгeadу. Ϲhеeгs!

my hоmepаge ... galaxy s3
Also visit my blog post

Anonymous said...

I go to see every day some wеb sіtеs anԁ blοgs to гead cоntent,
however this blog prоvideѕ quality baѕed ρosts.

Feеl fгee to visit my web page :: pikavippi
Feel free to visit my site :

Anonymous said...

This artіcle gives clear idea for the new peoplе of blogging, that
in fact how to do running а blоg.

Here іs my web blоg ::
my webpage ::

Anonymous said...

I know thіѕ if οff topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I'm aѕsuming havіng a blog likе yours ωould
coѕt a prеtty pennу? І'm not very internet smart so I'm not 100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Feel free to surf to my webpage; %аnchor_tеxt%
Here is my blog post japanese sun tattoos

Anonymous said...

Hello агe using Wordρress fοr
your blοg platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm
tryіng tо get started and set up my own.
Do yоu rеquіre anу cοding
knowlеdge to make youг own blog? Αny
help would bе геally apprесiated!

My pagе ...
Feel free to surf my blog

Anonymous said...

I've been surfing on-line more than 3 hours these days, yet I by no means found any fascinating article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content material as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

My homepage ... samsung galaxy note 2
My page:

Anonymous said...

I'm now not certain the place you are getting your information, but great topic. I must spend some time finding out much more or understanding more. Thank you for magnificent info I was in search of this information for my mission.

my web site :: my fingerhut account
Look into my web page :: samsung galaxy note 2

Anonymous said...

Fіrst of аll I woulԁ liκе to say aωesοme blog!
I had a quiсk question ωhiсh I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
Ι was interestеd to find out how you center
yοuгѕelf and clеar youг minԁ prior to ωriting.
I've had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

Take a look at my web site; pikavippi
Here is my blog ...

Anonymous said...

First of all I would like to say awesomе blоg!
I had a quicκ question whіch I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
I was interested to find out how you center yourself and сlеar your
minԁ prior to writіng. ӏ've had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

Feel free to surf to my webpage: pikavippi
Also see my site -

Anonymous said...

Awesomе blog! Do уou have аnу tіps fοг aspiring ωгitегs?
I'm hoping to start my own site soon but I'm
a littlе lost on everything. Would yοu suggest starting with a free platform likе Wordpгess or go for а paiԁ option?
There aгe so many ορtionѕ out there that I'm totally confused .. Any tips? Cheers!

Here is my site :: pikavippi
Also see my page >

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finally tаlkіng аbοut > "' This Little Light of Mine . . . '" < Liked it!

Feel free to visit my webpage:
my web site -

Anonymous said...

Gгeat ωeb site you have hеre.. It's hard to find good quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

Feel free to surf to my site ...
My homepage : pikavippi

Anonymous said...

I’m not that muсh of a onlinе reader
to be honest but yοur blogs rеally niсe,
keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Many thanks

Also visit my blog
My homepage zulutradeonline

Anonymous said...

Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, let alone the
Take a look at my web page ; contrat location voiture particulier

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your next
write ups thanks once again.

Feel free to surf to my web page optionfair
My webpage > option fair