Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Brother, My Hero

I had been struggling with what to write for my first Blog post.  I have never been one for writing especially about myself.  Whenever I would feel the urge to leave a memory of my life I would get a journal and either stare at the front page or keep it up for a week and quit.  I think part of the problem is I never knew how to address my journal - do I just use it for notes or do I write as though I am talking to somebody?  You know what I mean, "Dear Diary" and other introductions like that.

However, Last night my Brother Joe passed away and he has become my inspiration for my first post and to perservere on this quest to express myself through the written word.   Since most of you do not know my brother I hope to leave a legacy of who he was tbhrough this post.  Let's hope that I do a decent job!

My brother, Joseph Titus, my two years my younger.  We are definitely not the typical siblings in that we had no blood relation between us but we never thought of each other in any other way than biological siblings.  I remember the first time I met Joe was when I was 9 years old and I had come to visit my Dad in the summer of 1986. I remember that I had these huge orange glasses to help with the sun and he had one of those old hearing aids that made you wear a box on your chest.  We made quite the pair of kids!

OK well perhaps I am jumping too far aheadand should introduce you to who my brother was.  Joseph Lewis Titus was born on September 29,1979.  My brother was born with Hunter syndrome.  For those who are not aware of this disease here is a link for you :  My brother suffered from many of the conditions including hearing impairment, vision impairment and deformity of his hands.

My brother has incurred many surgeries especially over the last couple of years.  He has had heart valve replacements, carpal tunnel surgery and others I am sure I may not be aware of.  The amazing thing about Joe is that despite these limitations or no matter how much crap life threw at him, he stood right back up stronger than before.

After our first summer together I did not see Joe again until the summer of 1991.  We then started living under the same roof and were able to build a relationship as siblings.  It took time for us to feel out how we felt about each other and how to get used to the idea of having a sibling as both of us were basically only children prior to this.  I think Joe was probably much more open to me than I was to him which just goes to show what a big heart he had. 

I remeber him allowing me to tag along on his scouting trips because he knew I didn't know anybody and he didn't want me to feel left out.  He has also always been there to be my sounding board or just my light to keep me on track.  There are days it was hard to determine which of us was older because he was so wise about areas I felt so hopeless about. 

What are some of the greatest attributes I think my brother had impressed upon people:

1. Written word - My brother felt that no matter how much technology was out there receiving a letter or card in the mail was important.  He was always early with birthday cards and ever Christmas cards and wish lists before I had even bought mine. He was actually already addressing and signing this years Christmas cards.  Once a month he would make a trip to Hallmark and pick out all the cards he needed for the proceeding month.  My resolution is to take Joe's legacy  and continue it with being better at sending people a note through the mail just to break up the bills!

2. Joe's love for animals - Joe had a definite Philanthropic heart especially for animals.  Joe was a donor to the zoo and to many organizations that helped animals.  Joe even worked for the local zoo in their membership department for a while.  He helped to increase zoo membership because of his enthusiasm.  He made his co-workers enjoy their job more because of this enthusiasm.

3. Disney - Joe had a love for everything Disney and I think he truly admired Walt Disney!  Anybody who knows of Walt Disney s legacy and story can probably see the similarities of him and Joe.  Joe worked for both Disney world and Disneyland for short periods of time.  I know his favorite character was Mickey and I think he personified the spirit of Mickey every day of his life.  He always had a smile on his face and he was a great friend to everyone.

These are just a few of the great qualities he possessed.  From the moment I met Joe, I knew that my life would never be the same.  I never expected however how much he would impact or inspire my life.  We were always taught that no matter what disability you have that does not give you an excuse to not do something - you may just have to do it differently.  Joe took this motto and trumped it by not letting anything keep him down.  He led a full life despite his limitations and touched many hearts because of his perseverance and his huge heart!

My little brother passed away Wednesday, November 10,2010 @ St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma,WA.  He left work that evening because he didn't feel good and made it to his car.  Several minutes later his coworkers noticed he had not left yet.  They went out to investigate and found that he was not breathing and his heart had stopped. The paramedics were called and they were able to restart his heart long enough to get him to the hospital.  At the hospital his heart stopped again and they were unable to get it beating again for a total of 45 minutes.  After they accomplished this they rushed him to the operating room but he never made it out.  My little brother, Joseph Lewis Titus, was pronounced dead at 9 PM on Wednesday, November 10,2010. 

My family will never be the same without him around.  However, I know that Joe would want us to keep our heads up and remember him with fond memories.  I also know that this was God's plan because he knows the day and time for each of us.  I know that Joe is now free of pain and that does make my heart glad.  I know that we were living on borrowed time with Joe anyway because he was never assumed that he would live this long.  I know that he is up there in heaven smiling down on us but will still be there to guide us along the way when we need that extra push. 

Joe, You will truly be missed by everyone's life you touched but more by your family.  I will try and take the example you have shown me about being a good friend and try to do something to remember you every day.  We love you now and forever!