A sad event July 21, 2011Posted by johnhemry in Uncategorized.
I’ve been a little slower to answer emails than usual over the last six months because my little brother Robert has been fighting cancer. On Sunday, that fight ended, not because he gave up, but because the fight couldn’t be won.
Robert was 53. He was diagnosed about a year ago. Many treatments were tried. They didn’t get all the cancer, but he still toughed it out longer than the doctors thought he could. Rob was the baby of the family, so we often complained as kids that he got all the special treatment. But it didn’t make him soft. He got knocked down several times by life, and each time he got back up and kept going. I decided some time ago that he was the toughest of the family. I didn’t realize that he was also the bravest until I saw how he faced the end calmly and with his head up.
When we were little Rob and I were usually inseparable. That faded as we grew, until as teens we did the usual fighting and rivalry. I am grateful that we both put that aside a long time ago and remembered what we had been to each other in our youth. I have always been a geek, and Rob has always been the cool one. He served for six years in the Navy as an aviation rescue swimmer, one of the guys who jumps out of helicopters to save people in the water. His most recent work has been fixing up helos at Fort Rucker near Enterprise, Alabama. Rob died at home hospice with his wife (who herself has shown incredible courage through all of this) and his step-daughters. I’m really going to miss him.