Dear Mom, Dad, and beloved Brother,
Tomorrow, on the Lord’s Day is Mother’s Day. It is hard to believe that you have passed into eternity 19 years ago at 8:05pm, on your birthday. I recall getting the phone call while I was based in Izmir, Turkey during the Christmas Holidays. I was in a car, on patrol when l learned that you were dying. The military flew me out as fast as they could so that I come and see you. Prior to that, I had not seen you for a few years. The divorce between you and my dad caused much strife in my life that to where I harbored anger against you for things that I can not recall now. We did not speak for quiet some time. I remember the day when stepping into the hospital and William took me to your room. You were asleep when I walked in. As I crossed the threshold of the door, I did not see my mom, but a skeleton that resembled my mom. I had not seen what the cancer had done to you. The only memories I had were before I was stationed to Germany.
Within seconds I crumpled to the floor in tears. You awoke and saw me there. So many words I wanted to say, so many things I needed to say but did not. I apologized for the words that I had said against you and you forgave me and held my hand. That would be the last time that I would see you conscious. A few days later, you more into ICU and that would be the last time my eyes would lay hold of you. I feel back to Turkey and 5 months later I received the phone call from dad that you had passed into eternity the night of your birthday, May 26, 2002. I was told, though I can not recall from whom, you were saved by the Lord the same night He came for you. That is the greatest birthday present anyone can receive and to be received into His Kingdom the same day.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and you are not here. I can not embrace you or kiss you on the cheek. All I have are scattered memories of our time together on this earth. Though the latter years of your life we had problems, I never ceased in loving you and Lord willing, the day will come when I will see you again arraigned in the white, purified, glorious robe that was given to you by our Lord, Jesus Christ. I will honor your memory tomorrow and recall our times together that we had and thank the Lord for the time He allowed me to have with you.
Thank You for being my Mother. I love you.
The wounds of that sorrow filled day remain fresh in my wounds. I learned of your death while in a Target parking lot from a doctor that I did not know who was hundreds of miles away in New York. As he spoke of them trying to resuscitate you and their failure to do so, I was numb and shock set in immediately. As the doctor hung up, I called William and explained to him that you were gone, that you were no longer with us and I hung up. The phone dropped from my hands and that is when my soul fell apart. My wife opened the car door to find my crumpled in the seat of the car. Through the tears and shock, I told her of the news we both just wept uncontrollably. I drove home, which took 30 minutes and thankfully the Lord brought us home safely where I crumpled onto the grass in the backyard.
Monday, May 10th would have been your 67th birthday. You were so close to retirement from the tyrannical New York Public School system. You loved math and you loved the students who wanted to learn, but every time we spoke, you were bitter because of the politics that took place there and how restricted things were. I encouraged you many times to retire now as did your wife, my step mom, but you did not. You wanted to complete your time there. You wanted to retire further up into the New England States where you could grow your garden and plants.
I will never forget our Skype weekend calls that we would have. It is now quiet. The silence is deafening. Every weekend, I still await a phone call from you to meet you on Skype, but sadly, the phone calls never come. Your death was unexpected to us all. As your birthday comes this Monday, me and Leigh will being going to an Italian restaurant. You loved Chicken Parmesan and I am going to order that in memory you as we both loved it.
You were a father who went out of his way to support me and William. You supported our endeavors without question. You loved us and we knew that, we could feel that in our conversations with you. You worked hard to provide for us. You earned your Masters Degree in Mathematics after the age 40, a true accomplishment. You loved geology and collecting rocks and crystals. You loved to sit with us and watch Looney Tunes every weekend morning. You loved the Lord of the Rings and would love to watch the movies. I have your books and will hold onto them and read them.
You will be greatly missed. Always loved. I love you Dad. Happy Birthday.
There are no words, none at all that I can express at the loss of you, my younger brother. We were separated by 10 years in age, but you were a sage for your age. We grew up through hard times. No doubt the divorce of our parents really hurt us. The last time I saw you with our mother is when I departed for Basic Training back in 1999. It was early in the morning and I can remember you sitting up in bed with mom, watching me leave. As I was based in Germany, you were caught in between a custody battle with mom and dad. You also watched as mom detonated from the cancer that took her life. You lived on your own at such a young age and it saddens me that I was not there to aid. You had a rough road until Dad took you in after our mom’s death and helped you get healthy again, both physically and mentally.
I regret that we were not closer as brothers. Dad would make me promise to be there for you and to be close to you after he departed. Who could of thought that that after he departed, you would soon follow. I remember talking to you on the phone after dad died and you were complaining of being winded. Oh, how I wish I caught that comment faster. After all, you just had your gallbladder taken out a week prior. Catherine, our step mom called the ambulance a day later to where you were taken into the hospital for COVID. Weeks and weeks, we prayed that the Lord would heal you. You were young and strong I thought, he is my younger brother, he will push through this and then I can come up there and help you get back into shape. That was my wish but that soon changed. On February 7th, at 3:30pm, a young woman called, the doctor who was treating you. In the background I could hear all the alarms going off. Amidst the alarms, she stated you went into cardiac arrest and they were trying to resuscitate you for 5 minutes.
The 5 minutes came by and she called me again to tell me you did not make it. Once more, through a phone call sitting on the bed, I Learned that you slipped into eternity. The phone dropped out of my hands and I stumbled my way to the back yard and crumpled to the ground in a sea of tears.
I remember a few days before, I left a voicemail on your phone with the message of the Gospel. I pray day and night that you were able at least to hear it. Oh, how I will miss you my dear William. I wish we had talked more and had more intimate conversations. We were distant in age and in ideas, but you were my brother and you will always be my younger brother.
I love you now and always. Your loving brother, Stephen.
Our time on this earth is like that of a vapor. We pass like the seasons. Our times are all appointed to meet you. I am thankful that you allowed me the time with my family that I had and I shall remember them always in my heart. I do not understand Your will, or what road you are taking me down. I do know that their deaths have awakened my heart, which I must confess, needed to be awakened. Through the past few months I have been through the dark valley of anxiety, depression, and grief. Yet, you have been there every step of the way. Though I have a wandered away from because of grief and anger, You remained steadfast in Your love to me and saved me. You made me realized just how fragile our lives are and how short they are. I am thankful that through these events, though painful, You are molding me and shaping me. I may not now the full extent of your will, but in Heaven perhaps I will.
You have my heart. I am Your slave and you are my loving Master. Take me Lord, I am Yours. Allow me with the time you allot me to serve You in the ministry in any way that I can.
May Your be Glorified.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Stephen J. Melniszyn 111