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Last night we hosted 10 of our nearest and dearest for Thanksgiving. The food was fantastic, the wine flowed freely, and the conversation was scintillating. I enjoyed myself, but through it all, I was harboring an undercurrent of sadness. While we were celebrating, my much younger brother was 2,500 miles away in a hospital in Boston, losing his battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He passed away today, three weeks before his 27th birthday.

There are no reassuring words when a young person dies. There is no consolation that they leave behind a family who will carry on their legacy, or that they made some great contribution to society. There was no time for that. There is only that he was here, and now he is not. And there is nothing anyone could have done to change that.

Adam and I were not close. I was 16 when he was born, and lived in a different state. The next year I went off to school, and by the time he was just six I was living on the opposite coast, building a life with dpaul. We saw each other only a handful of times over the years, the last few times for our father’s (fourth and final) wedding, to see him in his last days, and at his memorial service. I saw Adam one last time in October, when Sylvia, our father’s widow, and I flew to Boston to see him in the hospital. Things had turned for the worse, and we knew this would probably be our last opportunity. The picture above is us with our sister Abigail during that visit.

We didn’t have much in common, but I enjoyed his often surprising wit. While visiting in the hospital, I had a brief banter with his Sicilian mother in Italian, after which she blurted incredulously, “we just had a conversation in Italian!” To which he replied, “Sean and I can converse in Scotch.” We’ll played, Adam.

Even though we didn’t spend much time together, I’ll miss him just the same. He’s a part of me, and that part is hollow now. But at least now our father has a golf partner in the great beyond.

This Post Has 32 Comments
  1. Sometimes life just ain’t fair .. absolutely no sense to be made of a young person’s passing .. sending love and hugs.

  2. No matter how distant, or how little you felt you knew him, you shared the bond of siblings, and it is a strong one. Your sadness at his passing will fade, but you will not forget him. Thinking of you.

  3. You’re right, it’s hard to find the words to reassure at a time like this – but we’re all thinking of you with love. Thanks for sharing Adam’s story (and wit) with all of us.

  4. Sean, I’m so sorry. What a blow, and of course, during this time of year, I swear it’s even worse, with all the pressure to be happy. I’ll be thinking of you, and hope these next few weeks will include many happy memories of Adam.

  5. Oh friend, I’m so sorry you’ve had to join this club of losing a sibling. Close or not, I think you’ll find that this might hit you harder than you anticipate… at least it did with my brother.
    Much love to you and your family.

  6. Sean,
    My thoughts are with you and your family. So sad to have family taken, especially when they are so young. I am glad you got to have a little time with him. Hugs to you.

  7. Sean – I just saw this. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I am so glad you had a chance to see him and get this beautiful photo of the three of you together. Hugs…

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