|Dad, Daniel (age 4) & I (age 9)|
After Daniel's diagnosis, I mourned for the brother that I had once enjoyed such witty banter with, especially as he would converse about far off plans without logic, reason or reality to ground the conversation. However, a new side of Daniel emerged that was fun loving, but quieter. He enjoyed listening to others and just checking in for no apparent reason at all hours of the night and day. His calling my work to chat with me, the "executive director", during my workday was not real convenient and I never learned to fully appreciate or accommodate this new side to Daniel. I was simply too busy to think our time together might be short.
I appreciate the time he took with my kids. Daniel was a fabulous uncle. He connected with each child differently and perfectly for their personalities and interest. He was especially good with Hannah who at that time could be very difficult to reach out to and get a meaningful response, but they spoke each others language...music and food.
On May 14, 2007, I stopped for my kids to give Daniel his birthday cards a day early. He had forget that the next day was his birthday which seemed unusual, but he seemed to be doing well. We had a nice visit and I hurried off to get on to something else. The next morning mom called before 7am to say that Daniel got sick in the night and it was serious. She had called an ambulance when his flu symptoms started including breathing problems. He lost consciousness within minutes of arriving in the ER. Later on in the day on Tuesday, on Daniel's 29th birthday, we would learn that he had a colloid cyst in his brain and recovery was unlikely. By just after 4pm on the 17th, Daniel had passed away. My parents seemed stuck unable to move and I laid out funeral plans for the brother who knew that I would die first. He was buried next to our grandparents on May 19th. It was exactly 29 years before that we had first held him and that he had made our family complete.