It has been a rough week
My Brother Passed Away Today
I have had a difficult week. On Monday my sister-in-law sent me a message and told me that my brother was near death.
Today, March 23, 2019, he passed away. RIP Mick Martin.
A Little History
There were 3 of us. Myself. My sister, Charlotte. And, my brother Mick. I was the eldest, followed by Charlotte. Charlotte was 2 years younger than me. Mick was the youngest. About 6 years my junior.
Charlotte died at age 15, in 1979
In September 1979, my sister Charlotte died at the age of 15. She was killed by a drunk driver in a terrible car accident. It happened that I was driving home from my after-school job and I came upon the accident. It was probably the most traumatic experience in my life.
I never really was able to overcome the grief until around a decade ago when a close friend helped me through some counseling.
I was a Senior in High School at the time, and Charlotte’s death really affected me greatly for the rest of high school, college, and through the rest of my life until around age 45 or 46. Of course, it is still difficult today, but I am able to deal with it.
My relationship with Mick
During our childhoods, Mick and I were not that close. I think this was due to our difference in age. A 6-year difference does not sound like much, but when, say, one sibling is 15 and the other is 9, well, you don’t have a lot in common. We got along fine but we were just not that close. I would say that with Charlotte being in the middle, she was close enough in age to each of us to be close with both of us.
As we got older, say when Mick was around 20 or so, and I was in my mid to late 20s, we became closer. We never really did a lot together, but I would say that we could relate to each other more.
Mick and I also held very different interests. I was always interested more in tech type things. When I was young I was into Ham Radio and Shortwave Radio listening. As I aged and technology moved forward I became interested in Computers and the Internet. Mick, on the other hand, was really into horseback riding when he was young. As he got older he got into Motocross. But we got along fine for those years when I was in my mid-20s until around when I was 40 or so.
I moved to the Philippines
When I was 38 I moved to the Philippines with my wife and kids. There were good reasons for the move, and I will never regret having made the move. If I had not moved, I believe that I would already be dead myself. In the Philippines I really changed a lot:
- I turned my health around
- I matured
- I learned to be more patient
- I became a better person
Those are things that made me who I am today, and I like the person I have become. I did not really like the person that I was before, not very much anyway.
For the first 3 or 4 years after we moved to the Philippines, I used to call Mick a few times per week. I had one of the early VOIP phone systems (Voice over Internet Protocol) and I was able to call from the Philippines to the USA for free. We talked, at that time, more often than we ever had in our lives.
Suddenly, though, one day, Mick would no longer take my calls. I really have no idea why. To this day, I don’t know the reason for sure, although I have a few things that I suspect. My chief suspicion is that he did not like it that we had moved to the Philippines. I have been told this by several people, but Mick did not tell me (although I asked him many times), so I don’t know for certain.
Over the years, I tried so many times to heal the rift and reestablish communications with Mick. We talked a few times over the years, but not many.
Last year, on March 21, my Mother passed away. This caused Mick and me to be in contact so we could work out arrangements dealing with our mother’s death. At the time, I told Mick that I would like it if we could stay in touch and get closer again. He said he wanted that too, but frankly, I rarely heard much from him after that.
When we decided to move back to the USA in October 2018, I sent Mick a message to let him know and his response was not that positive, so I just kind of left it at that. When we arrived in Indiana on January 17, 2019, I messaged him again and informed him that we had arrived and were living in Indiana. Again, he did reply, but not very enthusiastically. After that, I never heard from him again, until 2 days before his death.
His Cancer Battle
In March 2014, I became very sick with an infection. The infection was caused by a bite from a bug, but my diabetes made it much worse than it needed to be. I was hospitalized at the time.
At the same time, my Mother was going through a cancer issue and she became hospitalized.
Again, same time, my brother was informed that he had a very aggressive form of brain cancer, and he was hospitalized. So, all 3 of us were in the hospital at the same time. I was in a hospital in the Philippines, and each of them was hospitalized in the United States.
Over the last 5 years, Mick has gone through a lot with cancer. Many rounds of chemotherapy, several surgeries, and a lot of sicknesses. I wish I had been able to give him my support during that time, but he just never seemed interested in communicating with me. It made me quite sad.
The week of his death
On Monday of this week, as I said, his wife contacted me to let me know that Mick’s health had taken a turn for the worse, and he would be entering hospice. She told me that Mick asked her to contact me and tell me that he loved me. That meant a lot to me. She also told me that Mick would be calling me on Tuesday to talk.
On Tuesday, they were not able to call, because Mick was not doing well. On Tuesday, though, my nephew contacted me to keep me up to date. I asked him if Mick would be able to do a video call with me, and a few minutes later Mick and I were talking on Facebook Messenger. Mick did not look great, he was going through so much. Some of the things he said did not make a lot of sense, but it sure was nice to talk to him. I felt that we had a nice conversation, we both told each other that we loved each other, and I considered our rift to have been reconciled. I hope he felt the same.
I was planning to fly there
I am in Indiana. Mick was in Washington State. We had not seen each other for about 20 years.
When I learned that Mick was in hospice, and it seemed like the end was near, I started looking into flying there to see him. However, I wanted to talk to him on Tuesday, as he had planned. I did not hear, though, so I was not sure what to do. When we did talk on Wednesday, I was told that they felt he could die at any time. I decided that I did not want to be in the air when he died, and then not be able to see him or speak to him again. So, I felt it would be better to stay home and try to talk to him on the phone or video each day, or as often as we could for the time that he had left.
Unfortunately, we never talked again. I was told that after Wednesday when we talked, he mostly slept the rest of the time, and could not talk. I understand that. But as far as the decision of whether to go visit him or not, I think I did the right thing. If we had been able to get some communication going in January or February, after our return to the States, I certainly would have flown out to visit him a month or more ago before I even know that things had become quite grave.
I am sad and happy
This afternoon, I was in Kokomo with my family when I received a message from my niece informing me of the death of her father. It made me quite sad and brought tears to my eyes. After we got home, my son, Chris, broke down into tears.
At this point, about 6 hours later, I am still sad, but I am also happy that we did get that one opportunity to talk, especially on video. That meant a lot to me, and I will never forget it.
Rest in Peace, Mick. I am sorry that our relationship took a bad turn for so many years. I wish that I knew why. Maybe we could have fixed it and had some good times together. You will not be forgotten.