I don’t know if he ever reads my blogs, surfs the internet or has a clue what is going on in my life, yet, he was at every holiday table, every life event, every year of growth and change. We stopped communication at the request of his wife. It is impossible to convince someone that you are family, not a threat, if they don’t choose to see it that way.

JT was my brother, Duncan’s best friend. They fought on occasion but he was the counterpart to my crazy brother, they were uniquely different. Whereas Duncan liked to drive all night or work until breakfast when things needed to get done, JT was a dreamer, a consummate spendthrift who only worked as hard as necessary. He had a higher flash point;  Duncan just looked at life’s setbacks and said, “Huh?” Then went on to solve the problem. I never understood their relationship. When Duncan died, JT was the first non-blood relative to arrive in Houston. It was Christmas Day, 1985. The only businesses open were donut shops and funeral homes.

When all was said and done, JT and I stayed behind in Houston to close a chapter in life and  tie up loose ends. We spent 10 days dealing with lawyers, insurance companies, the funeral home and Duncan’s friends. We packed long yellow legal pad lists of ‘To Dos’  into each day and fell into our separate sleeps of grief every night.

Years before Duncan died, JT moved to Antrim to ‘caretake’ my dad who had just survived a heart-attack. Dad resented the intrusion of a live-in watch dog and JT was kind enough to put up with the crotchety atmosphere. They grew on each other, sort of…

When life moved on, Jeff, Lexie and I moved out of the city. Uncle JT was at every Thanksgiving and Christmas, not to mention the frequent weekend visits in between. He was an Uncle and a Godfather. The fox hunt club we belonged to made him an honorary member, he loved the cottage and my grandfather’s workshop as his own. Our home was his home. He saw me through marriages, births, deaths and divorces. He was the best stand-in brother I could have imagined.

The year before he wed, having weathered my divorce and managed to remain close to all parties, he came with me on those long weekends when I competed.  He was well-trained for His role as my helper following years on our farm and fox-hunting. Folks at the Bed &  Breakfasts where we ended up lodging always scratched their heads when I introduced him as my “groom” and we ordered separate bedrooms. We saw a Zebra in Vermont and met a few crazy people…all was fodder for conversations to keep me awake on the long truck rides home.

His wedding to this woman was beautiful. I photographed it for him, a last effort to bridge the gap. A beach on Cape Cod, barefoot in the sand, I watched as he professed his love to her. It was a healing moment for Jeff and I as well. We were having so much fun at one point a guest leaned over and whispered, “I heard you two were divorced?!” But that day, I lost JT forever. She hated the photographs. She banned him from having any contact with me ever again. He agreed.

How do I take a life-time of memories and pack them away knowing that person is still living, still out there but will have nothing to do with me??


Some last-minute advice from Carl while JT’s brother looks on…


The bride and groom

DSC_1640Jeff having a word with JT at the reception.

14 thoughts on “JT

  1. Love does funny things to people, blinds them is the most common, makes them near-sighted at the very least. Try to realise that for all the wonderful things you wrote here and remember about life with JT, that he carries those same wonderful thoughts and memories that you and your family provided him with throughout the years. You provide him with far-sighted glasses through which he can see himself at his best…..quite a gift there. Doesn’t fill the void you feel these days, I know, but we can always hope he comes to his senses sooner or later. Or, I can see of I can find a voodoo doll….

  2. I’ve been where JT was – given up things very dear to me in the name of love. Looking back on it now, I feel a great sadness for the loss. The marriage (love) didn’t last but the damage had been done. As Doppleganger wrote, at least you have some wonderful memories and he does too, even if he keeps them to himself. Ultimately, it was her loss, she could have had you for a friend!

    • Life is too short and he should know better. I made an effort to be her friend and calm her fears that we were not, had not ever and never would be carrying on an affair. Anyone that insecure needs more help than I’m capable of…

    • Thanks he was looking for something in life and chose a path that doesn’t include me anymore. I won’t make his life miserable by pursuing it…but having lost a a sibling once it was hard to reconcile. Today I feel I have opened the door for him, perhaps…

  3. Perhaps he agreed with her because he simply felt he must. In some ways, I understand that. Your spouse, your other, your life is entitled to your support. It’s too bad, though, that he was not able to persuade her to seek your friendship instead of pushing you – and JT – away. I can’t help but wonder if it won’t someday be their undoing.

    Thanks for sharing something so close and personal Martha. Hugs!

  4. Even though we were in far more infrequent contact, I miss him as well. I knew that I might not hear from him all year, but I’d get a very quick Christmas greeting and know all was well. The whole thing makes me sad.

  5. It seems to me there is something intrinsically wrong in a marriage or relationship where one party wants to cut out all past ties. Surely, sooner or later, the resentment will build? He may have fallen in love with her but, if she controls him so much, will it last?

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