Today I Lost My Brother
Rod met the big “C” with his first diagnosis many years ago; it was melanoma.
At least for a while.
Some time during the summer of 2009, he learned that the cancer was in his lungs.
Just last weekend, he was in his office when he fell and broke his hip. He was scheduled for hip replacement surgery today but had massive bleeding in his brain this morning and was unresponsive.
Rod had maintained a very positive and upbeat attitude. Sometimes he said things like, “The folks at the hospital like me ‘cause everybody else is sick.”
I first ran for office in 1970; he helped me in that campaign and then ran every campaign of mine after that one. He ran my campaign for lieutenant governor in 1990; it’s was my first loss and I believe he took it harder than I did.
But, like with any loss or any setback, he bounced back quickly.
Whether it was politics, family, or anything else, Rod enjoyed life to the fullest. He had a dry wit, a keen sense of humor and a heart of gold. He loved to play the guitar and sing. He loved being creative.
Other than in the hospital bed, I can’t remember the last time I saw him without a bright floral Hawaiian shirt. That was one of his trademarks. In fact, he went to an inaugural ball; like others, he wore a tuxedo – but with the Hawaiian floral print bowtie and cummerbund, along with tennis shoes, I believe.
He adored his two grandchildren; they adored him as well and called him “Rod-Boy.”
Other than Mom, I’ve known him longer than anyone else, and I will miss him more than anyone can imagine.
What a valuable Christmas present he was!