Monday, December 26, 2005

Daily Farm Photo: 12/26/05


This is my 200th Daily Farm Photo


In Loving Memory Of My Brother Derek
1970-2005


Alcoholism is real. And it kills.
And sometimes there is nothing we can do.

On December 24th, my only sibling drank himself to death.

His all time favorite movie was "The Jungle Book."

For years he had a Cheez-It loving cockatiel named Buddy
that he found nuzzling his ankle while sitting in the stands
at the county fair horse races.

He lived with four cats in a one bedroom condo.

He was in absolute awe last year when he saw me mix Miracle
Whip and Heinz Chili Sauce and make Thousand Island dressing.

He wanted to be a veterinary assistant.

He dreamed of creating an animal sanctuary.

He had a genius level IQ.

He was 35 years old.


When was the last time you said, "I love you?"


141 comments:

  1. My heartfelt condolences, Susan. *hug*

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  2. Susan, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and loving wishes are with you.

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  3. I am really sorry to hear your loss. My heartfelt condolences.

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  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  5. Oh Susan, I'm so sorry to hear this, my sincere condolences. My thoughts are with you.

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  6. Definitely a "bitter-sweet" time of year, isn't it. Am sorry about his passing. But it gives me an idea for something to share. I will let you know when its up -- I think you will find some comfort in it. I know I did - I get goosy bumps everytime I share this.
    Til laters........ *gentle hugs*

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  7. I'm so sorry. My heart is with you.

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  8. Susan, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. :( Thinking so very much of you.

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss Susan. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  10. Oh, Susan! I'm so sorry. What a terrible thing.

    He was my age. From everything you've said--and the fact that he was related to you--I think I would have liked him a lot.

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  11. While his earthly body may no longer exist, it seems his spirit has found a loving and protective home in you...

    Wishing you peace at what must be a very difficult time... and thanking you for such a gentle and important reminder.

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  12. Susan,
    I am so so sorry.
    What a tragedy.
    My prayers and thoughts go out to you (with a virtual hug) to you and your family.

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  13. I am so sorry for your loss. There are no words to ease it :(

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  14. What terrible, sad news. I send comforting thoughts.

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  15. THOUGHTS WITH YOU SUSAN
    REALLY SORRY...
    HUGS

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  16. I am so sorry, and I am so grateful to you for sharing a little bit about him. You're in my thoughts.

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  17. My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Susan, you are in my thoughts. I can feel that Christmas Eve will never be the same for you any more. A big hug from angelika

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  18. Oh, god, farmgirl; our deepest sympathies are with you and your family.

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  19. Anne B, aka BB12/26/2005 3:26 PM

    Derek had excellent taste in chocolate, too. May his spirit find a peaceful place where there is no need to numb the pain of this world with anything.
    BB

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  20. I am so sorry for your loss and the loss to the world...your brother sounded like a special person and of course, I know he was special to you...I have three sisters and can't imagine losing any of them...I'm sending a prayer for you and your family...Barbara Karr

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  21. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you during this sad time.

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  22. Susan, I offer you my deepest condolences (and big virtual hugs). I wish you and your family peace and strength.

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  23. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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  24. huge hugs, sniffle, more hugs

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  25. OH I am so sorry FG....

    xxxxxxx

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  26. Susan - I sent you mail. I don't have anything to say that might make you feel better, but I just want you to know I can't stop thinking about you.
    Sending love from San Francisco.
    samx

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  27. Oh Susan, I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs.

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  28. I've just started reading your blog and already I feel so at home here. It makes this all the more difficult to hear. I'm so very sorry...

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  29. Oh god.I am so sorry. Alcoholism is a terrible, terrible disease, that has affected our family for several generations. Thank God for AA. I mourn with you, Farmgirl.

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  30. I am so sorry! What a waste, he sounded like a wonderful man. So young. (My father also drank himself to death, at age 48.)

    My heart goes out to you and your family. You all will be in my prayers.

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  31. I wish someone would come up with an alternative to AA for those who dont believe in their methods. How are those people supposed to get help? Do the people who don't have a god to thank have any hope?

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  32. Forgive me for answering anonymous, Farmgirl, in this forum.
    Many members of AA don't so much believe in God, (or god, little g), but in the spirit, and the desire to stop drinking. There are only two rules - don't drink, go to meetings. In your phone book or online. Meetings are free, and there's no "joining". Just show up.

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  33. kat - sorry i should have explained myself better. we have spent a lot of time looking into this and it just doesnt work for some poeple. little g, spirit, whatever, this just will not work. It has been tried and tested and rediculed by the person who needs help. If you try and look on the internet to find help for an alcoholic it is extremely difficult to find anything which doesn't include AA or the 12 step progam. There are a seriously few alternatives, but it amazes me the stranglehold AA has on the solving of this problem. I have researched high and low, there is little choice. Have you seen Penn and Teller on the subject?

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  34. Sorry for your loss Susan, hugs:x

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  35. Thinking of you right now...

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  36. Susan, my heart hurts for you. I have a very dear friend who is an alchoholic. Each time he quits drinking, I am buoyed up with hope. And each time he goes back to it, I lose a little more faith. It's hard for those of us left behind, but how much harder it must have been for him.

    Take care of yourself. You have lots of friends who care about you.

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  37. Susan, my heart goes out to you and your family. I'm so unspeakably sad. You've given us so much joy - I hope we can provide you with some comfort in your sorrow.

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  38. May he rest in peace. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sincerely,
    Paz

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  39. I'm so sorry. We're thinking of you and of your family.

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  40. I'm so sorry to hear this.

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  41. Oh my dear. I am so sorry.

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  42. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. My sincerest condolences to you and your family.

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  43. Oh, Susan, sorry doesn't even feel like a big enough word.

    The last time I said I love you...right now. Many loving thoughts to you and your family and prayers will be with you every day.

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  44. i am so sorry...

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  45. I'm very sorry for your loss.

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  46. I was so sorry to hear about Derek,what a terrible waste. I am glad he had an opportunity to be with you on the farm for a short while this past year, how very special for both of you. Good Memories. My thoughts and prayers are with both you and your mom. Love, Mary

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  47. Susan, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  48. peace to you and peace for your brother...my brother is also 35 and i need to call him NOW...i usually just read, but i had to respond this time. thanks for your sharing spirit.

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  49. You are in my prayers. I'm going to light a candle for you now.


    The last time I said "I love you" was about a half hour ago. I say it every day...to someone (usually to my hero, Bob).

    I am so sorry for your loss, Susan.

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  50. Susan,
    Losing a loved one is so painful, so raw. I appreciate how you celebrated the goodness of your brother's life. I believe when people die they live on in our memories. May the good memories of your brother remain in your heart forever.
    Take good care,
    Nicole

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  51. I am very sorry for your loss, Susan. My thoughts are with you.

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  52. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

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  53. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  54. Beth Schofield12/27/2005 4:19 PM

    My prayers are with you. Beth Schofield

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  55. What an eloquent tribute to your brother, Susan. I'm so sorry for your loss. May you and your family find comfort with each other and in all the good memories.

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  56. Hi I'm Ted from Cal.I was a friend of Dereks and he worked for me in 03 and 04. I always told him that he was to smart to be a painter, he laughed and said that he liked it and that it was a good honest living.Derek was kind person.

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  57. Susan, I am so sorry to hear this. My deepest condolences.

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  58. My sincere condolences, Susan.

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  59. I am so sorry about your loss. Losing anyone at any time is hard, but even more so at Christmas.

    "Perhaps they are not stars but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy."

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  60. Oh, Susan.
    I don't know how to say how sorry I am. My heart aches for you and your mom and all the loved ones in your dear brother's life. I'm so sorry I haven't been online to see this earlier. You and your family is in my prayers.

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  61. God bless your family. Sorry, is not enough to say. Comfort, in small doses, is something that only comes with time - a long time. Perhaps, helping others with this dreadful disease might ease your heart,help you work through this horrible event and maybe you will eventually feel less alone. Love to you and your family, Annonymous

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  62. I will keep you & your brother in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so sorry.

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  63. I'm very sorry for your loss. I lost my dad to alcoholism. The first loss was the way the disease made it impossible for him to be a part of my life. He was very withdrawn. The second loss was when he drank himself to death, alone in his apartment. It was something he just wasn't strong enough to conquer. After his death, I started to go to ACA (Adult Children of Alchoholics) meetings and they have changed my life. I didn't realize how much having an alchoholic parent had negatively affected my behavior. My childhood coping mechanisms were major road blocks for me as an adult. But, I learned how to re-pattern the way I looked at situations and have become a much less angry and reactive person. Alanon programs really help teach us to hate the disease and love the person. I wish you peace.

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  64. I'm so sorry for your loss, so sad to lose a loved one.
    It must have been so hard for you to see yoyr brother use his life in a way that you could see wasn't good for him - must make the sorrow so much the heavier.
    I want to send you a net hug (ever heard of such a thing?)- hereby done!

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  65. christmas will never be the same for you after this year...wish you all the sunflowers (as they call them in Dutch)to give you wamth .

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  66. My prayers go out to you Susan and your family. It breaks my heart everytime I here that alcohol has claimed another living soul...lost a few family members too. His spirit is now free of that and he is a guardian angel to the animals he loved as you mentioned. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND MAY YOU BROTHER BE AT PEACE.

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  67. I am so sorry for your loss. I am a recovering alcoholic.... I know how real alcoholism is. My heart aches for you and for your family... and for your brother.

    I'm just so sorry.

    --anne

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  68. I check in often, though I never comment...until now, at the one time when mere words aren't enough.

    Just try to hold on. Tight.

    J.

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  69. "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" -- Immanuel Kant

    The world is poorer for the loss of your brother. May you find comfort knowing that you have drawn together a community of like-minded, caring people. Take care of yourself.

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  70. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  71. I have a brother who is 37, named Derek, and an alcoholic.
    When I read this entry, it hit me like I just ran into a brick wall.
    I'm saddened that your brother's life ended so soon, and was so troubled. Alchohol can be the comforting friend, but also, the most bitter enemy. I know, that around the booze, he was a good guy, and that others loved him, and cared about him. Were concerned for him.
    But mostly, that you loved him
    And already miss him.
    I can only imagine how much you hurt right now, and I wish that there was something that I could do to make things better for you.
    I wish this had not happened to your brother.

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  72. Susan: So very sorry about your loss. As you perhaps already know, "Bake something. You'll feel better."
    (take it from me, it helps...)

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  73. I'm so sorry for your loss :(

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  74. Hello Susan,
    My heart cries everytime I come to visit your blog right now. *gentle hugs sent your way during this time* Nothing feels right to say.. I pray for comfort for you and your family.

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  75. I'm so sorry for you. I'll pray for you and your family.

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  76. I am so sorry,Susan. Very unfortunate thing to happen and shouldnt happen to anyone ever.My heart is with you right now...thinking of you and praying for you.May his soul rest in peace!

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  77. Oh, {{hugs}}. This is so sad. Your beautiful thoughts made him a bautiful person...many blessings to you & your family.

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  78. I check in to your blog each day, addicted to your sweet musings and delightful photos. I am so sorry to hear your news, and like at least 82 people before me from around the world, want to express my condolences too. When you have time to reflect on this period in your life, I hope you can derive comfort from these little expressions of love sent to you from around the connected globe.Love, even between 'virtual' friends, is anything but virtual. God Bless you Susan, and come back soon with your own brand of sunshine. Bev.

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  79. Thank you all for writing. I am overwhelmed by your response.

    I cannot even begin to say how much your kind words and thoughts and stories and prayers and hugs mean to me. Cannot even begin.

    I'm not seeing photos when I go outside right now. And as heartbreaking as it is to look at it, I also wanted to keep this one at the top of the page for a while.

    But I know Derek wouldn't want me to miss a chance to share pictures of my cats and dogs, so you can be sure I'll be back for Weekend Cat Blogging & Weekend Dog Blogging.

    In the meantime, please know that I am reading all of your comments and emails. Comfort from around the world feels very good. Thank you.

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  80. Susan,
    Much, much love from across the miles.
    My thoughts are with you and your family. I wish there were words enough to make things well, but seeing as there aren't, know that you are in all our hearts.
    emma

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  81. I'm fairly new to your site and have been living vicariously thru your blog and trying out your recipes. The very least I can do is send you the hope for healing hugs and peace. Take care of you.

    Paula L

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  82. During the last month I have followed life on your farm fare away and enjoyed your wonderful pictures. Thank you for that. I was so sorry to read about your loss. My thoughts and love also from Denmark. Ulla.

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  83. There are no words that comfort. I know too. As others commented earlier, I too watched my father suffer through alcoholism. He passed away this Spring. I pray the memories of your brother bring you some measure of peace and comfort. And know many of you are thinking of you and praying for your family...

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  84. Susan, my heart just aches for you. I wish you and your family peace.

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  85. I'm so glad you posted this photo. He looks like you, and he looks happy.

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  86. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss Susan. My God be with your whole family. Hugs, Sher

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  87. Susan, I am so sorry for your loss.
    I am without words. What a sad and terrible loss.

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  88. Our hearts reach out to you Susan, along with the hearts of these 94 other souls who have already reached out to you because you have touched us all with your goodness and your optimism. We are so sorry for your loss, and, share it, in that 2005 brought deep sadness to our family as well.

    Much Love,

    Peggy & Jim

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  89. I've enjoyed this site for quite a while, and I'm sorry to have to make my first comment under such unfortunate circumstances.

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  90. Susan,

    What an endearing photo. Lovely, deep, knowing eyes.

    I am still sending love to you and prayers for you every day.

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  91. It is so sad. I'm really sorry for your loss. :(

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  92. My sympathies for your loss. I love my brother so much; I can't imagine how painful it would be to lose him. And suffering a death so close to Christmas must be especially hard. You and your fmaily will be in my thoughts.

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  93. my heart feels very heavy for your tragic loss, dear susan - do take care of yourself and we shall pray for strength for you and your family.

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  94. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It's hard when you love someone and feel so helpless to save them. I hope you and your family find some peace.

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  95. Susan:

    I'm so sorry to hear about this. Thank you for sharing it with us. Let me know if there's anything I can do.

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  96. I've been there and my heart goes out to you.

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  97. we keep coming each day to read all the comments from people who have left comforting comments for you at this time and although we try to find the right words to say know this that we send HUGE puggie vibes and hugs for you and your family xoxox

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  98. I'm so sorry for your loss, Susan.
    ::hugs::

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  99. Susan, I have just gotten back from my Christmas vacation. I was catching up on reading your blog when I saw your dedication to your brother. I am horribly sorry for your loss. I know it will be tough but you know that all of here and everywhere give you our support and send you all the comfort we can.

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  100. Susan, I am so, so sorry. I know there aren't words that I can type here that will make you feel better, but know you're in my thoughts.

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  101. I am so so sorry for your devastating loss - you and your family are in my thoughts.

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  102. Susan,
    I'm very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.
    With my sincere condolences,
    Regards,
    Rosa

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  103. I'm new to your blog by wanted to add my deepest condolences to you. I hope in this new year you find peace.

    Steph

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  104. My condolences to you and your family. My thoughts are with you.

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  105. Farmgirl, I am so sorry for you loss. Life is so often cut to short.

    Thoughts and prayers...

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  106. Denise in TN1/01/2006 3:21 PM

    Susan

    I'm sorry for your lost

    I lost my sister ( my only sibling ) over 10 years ago..

    Denise in TN

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  107. Oh my goodness, Susan. I am so sad to hear about your loss. Know that we're all thinking of you and sending you strength now and always...

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  108. oh susan i am sorry for your loss. he sounds like a neat guy. thank you for telling us about him.

    addictions are real. that is for sure. too bad he couldn't find the help that would work for him.

    you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  109. Hi Susan,

    I want you to know how sorry I am for you, and your Mother's loss.
    Derek was a complex person. I only really got to know him a little bit when he stayed overnight at his Mother's. Derek and his mother were very competitive gamers, especially with cards. I seldom won against them. He also reavealed his great memory and intelligence when he and his Mother would start discussing various issues.

    Derek was a person who truly loved animals. His cats were his constant companions and a source of pride and joy.

    I think his picture on the blog, as well as your memorial tribute to him was great.

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  110. you don't know me, and I just discovered you site, but I wanted to tell you how sorry I am. My brother has been dead 14 years, and though the pain has lessened, a day doesn't go by that I don't think of him.

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  111. Remember the great times with your brother. When my husband hears a certain song on the radio, he smiles, he says, "There's Helen". He lost his sister and brother in law in a firey truck accident on Halloween. Its been 22 years and Halloween still isnt really celebrated by him. I hope you remember the good times and smile often when you hear his favorite song too. Peace

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  112. I am so sorry for you loss. He seems to be a great guy. May the fond memories you have of him help guide you through these, your darkest days. I too lost my only sibling at a young age. My thoughts are with you.

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  113. Susan, your family's friends at Audubon Canyon Ranch in CA were very sorry to hear about your loss.
    - Cassie

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  114. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I don't know what else to say. I am absolutely overwhelmed by the amazing amount of caring and kindness in the world that has pointed itself toward me and my sadness. It helps.

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  115. Susan, I extend to you a huge hug and send my condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. You exude such warmth and positivity. Jennifer

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  116. Wishing you moments of peace during your battle with grief. You make everyone's days brighter with your blog and I hope you can find some comfort from the joy that you bring others. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  117. Oh Susan. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you and your family are able to find the comfort you need right now.

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  118. Hello dear Susan, I had no idea that you had lost your beloved brother this Christmas. My heart reaches out to embrace you. I think you have read my eulogy to my 24-year-old daughter Francesca, so you will know that we share a special bond. Thank you for this exquisitely simple and moving testament to your brother.

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  119. Cathy & Bill1/25/2006 10:53 PM

    Susan, I am very sorry for your loss. I knew you and Derek in San Rafael. My heart goes out to you and your mom. I have been in touch with her. Words just don't say what is in my heart. Be good to yourself. Love from a former neighbor.

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  120. hope time will be so kind as to let you remember only the good times with your brother, and may you find peace in your daily farm rituals and love for cooking. I believe somewhere he looking out for you...

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  121. Susan, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to you. I too lost someone dear to my heart due to that same illness. I lost my husband in 1996. He was only 45 years old.

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  122. Hi, I found your site a while ago and check it from time to time. I just read your entry about your brother, and wish to add my sympathy to the many you've received. I am an alcoholic, sober less than a year, and came close to losing my family after years of trying their patience. I'm so sorry your brother couldn't do the turnaround in time to save himself.

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  123. Susan, I'm so sorry. Your words affected me so much because my sister was an alcoholic and died at a very young age due to it. But, they are always with us. Your brother sounded like a wonderful person and I thank you for sharing him with us. I will always think of him now. I love that you did this.

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  124. What a wonderful post -- so moving, because it was so very simple. Know that a stranger in California is thinking of you and your family, today.

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  125. Susan,
    I've never visited your site before when I came across your poem about your brother. I too lost my only sibling, my brother, at 31 years old last year from alcoholism. He rolled his car into a ditch and lay there all night. The sadness is overwhelming - please know there are others who understand what you are feeling and are surviving with you.

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  126. Hi Susan,
    I haven't checked in with your blog for a while, and just now came across this post. I am so so sorry for your loss.

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  127. I'm so sorry. I know from experience that nothing can ease the pain - even though it's been almost a year now. I wish you peace as you come upon the 1st year anniversary.

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  128. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. Words really can't express the kinds of things one feels about such a loss. I lost a brother on Christmas Eve long ago and it changes things forever. May you find the peace you need and continue to remember all the good things about Derek. He was a very handsome young man.

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  129. I just came browsing through from Danielle's 'Modern Musings', and this post caught my eye...

    I'm really sorry for your loss, and in such a way too... it must be heartbreaking to think he got caught up in drink so much it took him... just know you couldn't have stopped it. Only he could've done that.

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  130. Ashley Tremblay5/25/2007 6:13 PM

    I'm very sorry about your loss, but I do need to ask you something...Was your brother dereks last name Silver by any chance? if so could you please please e-mail me at cheerinchicka232@yahoo.com ((it is very important))
    <3Ashley Tremblay

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  131. Dear Susan,
    I hope that this past Christmas was not too hard for you and your family.

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  132. i visited your blog first time today and among other post's found this one. time has passed... but it was so deeply touching. i was wondering, how very close we all human natures are by nature... some stranger from the northern europe reads you thougths and feelings and tears just drop. my best wishes to you.

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  133. I just discovered your blog and am romping through the archives, so I'm a little late with condolences. Then again, grieving is a process.

    My brother was 37 when alcoholism killed him.

    I hope you've found peace in the intervening years.

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