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My brother, Christian, never liked birthdays. In fact in his presence they were always referred to as "special days" not birthdays. Yes, we have been known to publicly sing "Happy Special Day" to the Happy Birthday tune. Harmony Art turns 9 this month!
Nine years ago this week, I was in Michigan with my father-in-law as he was released of his body. That event was the bitter sweet beginning of the Harmony Art journey. Just over two weeks ago I was with my brother, Christian (pictured above) as he was released from his body. It's hard to be happy and celebrate right now. I miss him terribly.
Someone told me when my father died that losing someone you love is like having a permanent hole in your heart. Lately I have been trying to imagine the hole as being a hug so when I reach for it I feel his presence and love rather than his absence. I can't say I am always succeeding but I am trying.
Christian was selfless, dedicated, and quirky. When Wendy (his wife) found the bathroom extra dirty and asked Christian about it he confessed to letting a homeless man in to take a shower and to pick out clothes from his own closet. Yes, Christian was THAT guy -- the one who would truly give a stranger the shirt off his back. He did these acts never begrudgingly but with a full and open heart.
Christian was dedicated.. . . to his job, his family, his friends, his church, his CAL Bears and all of us lucky enough to have inhabited this world with him.
If you EVER attended a Northgate girl's volleyball game you knew Christian or at least heard him. His cheers were legendarily loud. I'll personally never forget his Bronco whinny. When it came to cheering on his team (and daughter) there was no such thing as self-consciousness just utter dedication to having his support heard and felt.
A family story goes that Christian got in to one fight as a child. The reason? Someone was bullying his little brother, Merit. If you had Christian on your team he would go that extra mile. He cared about what he did and who he did it for more intensely and selflessly than anyone I have ever known.
Christian was quirky. One of his nicknames was BananaMan - he made it a point to bring bananas with him when he went on family outings or vacations. Why? To give them to people who were working that he encountered of course! It started with the sleigh driver and became standard operating procedure from there.
I for one will miss his big hugs, calling him my little brother despite his size and age advantage, our philosophical conversations - usually in cars, and just his unwavering loyalty and love.
I challenge all of us to keep Christian with us by being a little more selfless and loving when it comes to helping others, to acknowledge those things we are dedicated to -- to go that extra mile with a smile, and maybe even quietly perform a random act of kindness.
Christian, I don't know what to say but I LOVE YOU. This year's "special day" is dedicated to you.
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.