A Living Tribute to My First Hero

My brother has a neurological disease called corticobasal degeneration. That’s a long, complicated term for a long, complicated sickness….his body and mind are going to give way before his spirit does. While he can still remember things, my sisters, nieces, and nephews and I are putting together videos for him, telling him how much he’s meant to us.

Here’s what I posted on Facebook about a year ago:

“Shower the people you love with love.”

I spent the weekend with one of my favorite people in the universe, my big brother. He was once the strongest, most robust and vital, and funniest man I ever met. He was my first real-life hero—a bright spot in many sad years that were dominated by disease and death.

As his health fades, his sense of humor is still strong, as is his appreciation for his children, grandchildren, sisters, and most especially his wife. His gratitude for how wonderful his life has been—his “fabulife” as I referred to it—is palpable.

Long ago as our religions and politics went in very different directions, we made a (somewhat) silent agreement to not discuss them anymore (well, not much, anyway). What has remained and gotten to shine even brighter is the immense love we have for each other, our family, and life.

At one point this morning he asked me something, and I looked up and away as I was thinking about my answer. “I’m looking at Mom right now,” he said, smiling at me. “So am I,” I replied, smiling back. She died in 1979. He’s always resembled her—even more now.

Many of his expressions, gestures, and mannerisms match Dad’s in his declining years. It’s such a beautiful, unexpected gift to see our parents alive again in us like this. While we’ll always love them in the etheric, it’s such a blessing to feel that love come alive in the physical again.

I just felt like sharing my thought for the day—”Shower the people you love with love,” as James Taylor sang….long before they leave.


Here’s a little bit more background to explain some of my words in the video:

He’s twelve years older. He was an actor (his biggest movie was The Breakfast Club—he mostly made the cutting-room floor, but he was Ally Sheedy’s father, driving that Mercedes), a model (he was the best-known face in his city—even the airport used to have huge pictures of his face smiling down on us), and a tree surgeon/landscape architect. The seashore was our family’s very special place, and Christmas was an especially magical time in our childhood, and even more so when his children started coming into his life. He adored being a father. Before his mind started to really fade, he repeated over and over how grateful he was for his life, his children, and especially his wife—a true gem, an angel, he called her as she took care of him. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.


Big, fat, fair warning: my resume shows that I was a filmmaker, but the days of the room-sized editing bays are far behind me. This was made with old photos and edited on my phone! LOL

Blessings…and may our loved ones always truly know how much we love them.