by Ann Clingman

Packages were on his front porch which would never happen as this was San Francisco. The police were called for a well-ness check. That is when I received the dreadful phone call that he had died. The world stopped turning, the noise was deafening even though there was no sound but the thump thumping of my broken heart.

He was my only sibling the only living person that knew me since infancy. He had a memory like no other, recalling our childhood like a story book. If you were interested in something, mine was tennis, he researched everything about it so that he could converse with me about every player and the aspects of the game. He had never played golf but he learned all he could so he and Gary could text back and forth during the tournaments. He was a huge Giants fan but he kept up with the Razor Backs. He was a protective big brother that I loved beyond measure.

I planned to go out to the city to take care of him and his possessions alone as Gary needed to stay with Stella and we did not fly with her. That is when joy landed on my heart. Chelsea, my granddaughter, called to let me know she would be flying from Nashville to meet me. Shortly after, Aaron my grandson, let me know he too would be flying from New York to meet Chelsea and I in San Francisco. Sometimes joy comes in like a quiet, welcoming, sun kissed fog.

He had a lifetime estate at the home where he had lived for nearly fifty years. There was work to be done so we hit the ground running. During those days we would talk about Leon, their uncle, and what he meant to all of us. He had brought joy, he was funny, smart, caring and full of surprises. There were presents for birthdays, Christmas and just because. My heart felt joyful hearing those love filled accounts for the man that impacted all of us in so many ways.

He wanted his ashes spread into Half Moon Bay on the Pacific Ocean.  This was at the peak of the Covid 19 pandemic so it was just the three of us to celebrate his life. Chelsea and Aaron read something from Shakespeare and I read Isaiah 55:12: ”You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace. The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands”.

We had picked flowers from his lovely garden that also went out to sea with him. We cried and hugged when suddenly a sun ray broke through the clouds right on the spot where he was drifting. Joy caught us again.

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