|My brother (wearing the Mexico City Red Devils jersey) and I with assorted cousins this summer. The jersey was among the quirks of his personality.|
Christopher I. Tejeda (I for Ignacio, who was our paternal grandfather) suffered a serious stroke Thursday afternoon – so much so that we were told by medical officials to give up any hope of a full recovery.
WHEN EVEN MINIMAL body reactions and reflexes were lost, the decision was made to let him go – and my brother was pronounced dead at 1:39 p.m. A memorial service is likely to be held in a couple of weeks, but nothing is even close to being scheduled yet.
Now it’s not just because he was my younger brother (only 45 – I’m 50) that it seems so unfair that he could go so suddenly. He and I went out for a Thursday morning breakfast and afterwards he wanted to take a nap.
Where it seems he suffered the aneurism that killed his brain functions so quickly that doctors say it was unlikely he realized what hit him. (And yes, it's the old City News Bureau reporter-type in me that catches so much detail over what could be regarded as a "cheap" ME).
But my brother is going to be missed for so many reasons – and not just because he was actually splitting the rent on my current abode.
HE MAY HAVE been my little brother, but there was nothing about him that ought to be in the diminutive – which makes the headline of this commentary something of a gag I’m sure he’d get.
When our mother suffered a downtown in her health that made the final decade of her life difficult, it was Chris who stepped up to take care of her and make sure her needs were met and her life was as comfortable as can be for someone who was being kept alive by kidney dialysis treatments that were excruciatingly painful.
As much as I’d like to say I had a role in her care, I know full well she would have been a lot worse off it not for my little brother.
Heck, he even was capable of bailing me out from time of time – particularly during those times of my adult working life when I had job layoffs (there have been three such periods, and for all I know I could someday face a fourth).
THEN AGAIN, THE life of a freelance writer is such that the next paycheck often gets easily delayed – and it was my brother who was the fallback until the time I wound up getting compensation and he could then get paid.
He actually had a kind-hearted nature that also translated into a work ethic – he had several jobs with companies that sold home repair products and services, to the point where he developed some skills of use around the house.
And among the items I will inherit from him will be a fairly awesome set of tools – some of which I probably will need some training in how to use (since my own tool kit consists of a hammer, some pliers and a few screwdrivers of assorted heads and sizes).
Yet even though he was at an age when many people were more than willing to settle for their lot in life, he was still looking for the way to move up on the professional scene. Lazy, he wasn’t!
PERSONALLY, HE WAS a baseball fan, and one of the New York Yankees even though by childhood birth he should have been a Chicago White Sox fan. He stuck with the Yankees even when they went through their 15-season streak of mediocrity to downright suckiness.
But it wasn’t blind faith he felt – he was the first to admit this year’s Yankees squad wasn’t good enough to deserve a World Series appearance. Although I suspect that somewhere in another realm, he’s prepared to get disgusted if the New York Mets actually win.
Now for those of you who have a problem with my writing this commentary, I say tough. It’s one of the advantages of having my own site to publish.
It’s kind of like those t-shirts that say someone traveled somewhere exotic, and all I got was a crummy t-shirt. My brother was a worthwhile soul who deserves a lot more out of life than this crummy copy – even though that’s the best I can give to him on this day.