Last week-end, my family gathered at a memorial for my brother Denis and his wife Geri. They died within a couple weeks of each other. They were in the hospital in Porcupine Plain at the same time and, as can only be done in a small town hospital, the staff arranged for them to share a room so that they would spend their final days together. After some thirty years of marriage, this was the perfect farewell.
I had intended to write this column about my brother, however something that Geri’s daughter said at the memorial made me realize that this column couldn’t be only about Denis, it had to be about Denis and Geri. She remarked on how everything in their lives centered on each other and how deep their love for each other was. They leaned on each other and it was clear that the love they had for each other was very important to them. They created a tight cocoon in which they lived, allowing room for their children and their family but the remarkable centre was their love. They liked nothing more than staying home and were hard to convince to come out to gatherings or events.
As I look back on their life together, I realize what a perfect fit they were for each other. The shared a unique sense of humour and were always able to find laughter in all situations. He was a carpenter who loved to create with wood in his spare time. She was artistic and was the one who painted the many wooden creations. I have many of their projects, which I treasure. I have ornaments and little houses which they created together. Geri created magical little characters from clay and I have several of them around my home and sitting in flower pots. She gave me some paintings and needle work she had made. There was so much talent between the two of them and they loved doing their creative projects together.
Denis lived with my husband and I for about a year. We had always been close, but that year together created a bond between us that would last a lifetime. I could always count on him when I needed someone to talk to, to vent to and always, always to share a laugh with. When he married Geri, it was obvious that he had found his soulmate. Their life was not always easy, but it was made easier because they had each other.
Over the last few years, their health declined – Geri battled cancer and Denis had kidney disease. They helped each other as much as they could, until they were both too unhealthy to continue. Geri went into the hospital first and Denis visited her every day, until it was his turn to also be admitted. Their doctor had them put in a room together, and so they spent their last days with each other. A perfect ending to the life they had created together.
For my siblings and I, saying goodbye was difficult to say good bye to our brother, but we know how sad he would have been to live without his beloved Geri. In our hearts of hearts, we know they are together again and we are happy for them. It makes saying goodbye a little easier