While writing my blog post (September Song), I was happily anticipating a change of season, a birthday and new goals. I was busy with the blog and my gardening, trimming roses and contemplating the new 65-year-old me. I printed out cards for my Cards by Geri projects and cleaned my camera and reflected on new photography endeavors.
I was content when I wrote September Song.
And then something happened. I lost a younger brother. It was sudden. I was not prepared.
My brother Ronnie Blevins was nine years younger than me, and he had a twin, Doc Blevins. We called them “double trouble” growing up, and it seemed part of them never grew up. They had so many “close calls,” falling out of trees, car wrecks, bizarre accidents. We thought “they” were indestructible. I speak of them in one of my Kimball Valley books, as toddlers wandering from the house into the rural chaparral, followed and protected by our loyal dog, Blackie. They were healthy and active and lived life on the edge.
In his 30’s Ronnie discovered he had a congenital heart defect. A surgery to replace a defective valve seemed to solve the problem. It appeared he would live a normal life. And he did. Normal for him. Until a couple of years ago when his heart began to fail him. There were several incidents that indicated he would not live to be an old man, but I didn’t believe them. Ronnie didn’t either. He kept working hard, living hard. He developed congestive heart failure. His lungs filled with fluid. In the last year there were several trips to the hospital, patching him up and then more living hard, working hard.
This September, his heart gave out.
September 11, 2011, as our country marked the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, I had my last conversation with my brother. Of course neither of us knew it would be our last. I was multi-tasking, blue tooth secure, clipping my roses in the California sunshine. He was laughing and joking in a Florida hospital. He had so much to live for, his family, wife, daughter, grandson. He was happy with some recent changes in his daughter’s life. He was looking forward with hope.
But his optimism was not set in reality, and I was unaware how damaged his heart was, working at only 20% its capacity. His heart stopped beating on September 13.
My new September song, Creedence Clearwater’s “Proud Mary,” was one of Ronnie’s favorites. My new September photo, Ronnie with his good-natured smile and twinkling blue eyes.
Ronald Dean Blevins, my little brother, I am sorry it was so hard for you to breathe and I didn’t really know how sick you were. Rest in Peace.
No one is indestructible.
Sing with me: Proud Mary: http://youtu.be/0ROalKnVZfU
September has changed for me.