18 September 2011


My four brothers and myself in, I think, 1962.

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Chuck, the second from the right, died of brain cancer at the age of 24 in 1982. Now Rick, the second from the left, is also dead two weeks short of his 58th birthday. He was found dead in his apartment where he lived for over 30 years, since moving in as a student at Kent State U. in 1978. Cause of death is still pending; my guess is carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grilling inside the house.

Rick was different. He had cut himself off from his family. He hadn't had a telephone for years. I went to visit him a few years ago and he was cordial but wouldn't let me in. He didn't empty his mailbox for weeks at a time, so mail to him--from our mother, for example--was returned to the sender. He disconnected the electricity from his apartment and took out the meter. He had a job and was never late with the rent. His old beater of a car was registered and insured. His living room looked like this.

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Yes, that is a shopping cart overflowing with books. Not scavenged books. Very carefully chosen books of philosophy and literature and Celtic mythology.

He loved the out of doors.

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Now his remains are buried here in a beautiful nature preserve cemetary destined to become a hardwood forest.

Rick s Grave 1

To let the light in I guess you have to let some of the darkness out.


  1. KC, I'm so sorry to read this. I thought there may have been something wrong since you hadn't posted for so long. This is a very touching post. That looks like a lovely peaceful spot for your brother's remains.

  2. I'm sad with you. Your brother chose an unusual path for himself and I'm sure you missed having that connection with him. I've never heard of a nature preserve cemetery. I love that idea and think it suits what little you've shared about him. God bless as you walk this season of mourning.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss, KC. I have my own family experience with hoarders and recluses, I know it's very hard to watch them take their own path. This is a beautiful burial site and one I think your brother would greatly appreciate.

  4. I'm so sorry. A brother is a brother, and all the complexities of a personality don't make a death in that bond any easier. (Also, I see he had one of my favorite books: Treehouses.) Take care.

  5. I'm so sorry. I can't imagine what you're going through. I have three sisters and dread losing them. My heart goes out to you.

  6. I am so sorry KC. Please take what comfort you can from comments and wishes and prayers sent your way. I wish you strength and fortitude as you navigate your grief.

  7. my heart goes out to you in your time of loss.

  8. Oh, KC, I'm sorry for your loss. My heart and thoughts are with you and your family x

  9. Thanks, Tors. BTW, I know I still owe you some antique feet! My bad.