My dearest Zeke,
Yesterday your death seemed like some sort of surreal nightmare. Then Owen innocently wondered why I was crying and asked “will Uncle Zeke ever come back?” And when I cried even harder and squeezed him ever so tightly, he put his little head on my shoulder and patted my back and said “it’s ok, Mama, I’ll build a special time machine to bring him back.” How I wish with all my heart that we could turn his 4-year old faith in magic into reality.
We didn’t know each other very well yet in 2003 when my brother Kylan was killed, but you sent me the most beautiful handwritten note with a photo of the white cliffs of Dover and, of course, an excerpt from Rainer Maria Rilke. Little did I know that you would become an integral part of my life and infuse it with such joy. And now I’ve lost not one brother, but two.
I’ve been combing through photos today, alternating between laughter and tears as I find dozens of images of us from around the world these past 19 years….Hanover, Boston, Pagosa Springs, Cape Cod, Berlin, Weimar, Munich, Leipzig, Portoroz, Strasbourg, Baltimore, Providence, Tokyo, Kyoto, London…and so many little towns in between. And for every photo, there are hundreds of memories that we never captured on film because we were too busy laughing, drinking wine, eating gelato, and running for the last train because we wanted to make the most of every minute.
I know in the weeks to come I’ll write down everything I can recall of all of our adventures so that their memory never fades. In the meantime, here are some of the moments that meant the most…
-When you and <div class=”nc684nl6″ style=”display: inline; font-family: inherit;”>Peter J. Verovšek</div> convinced this CA girl who still didn’t understand NH weather after four years of Dartmouth that we should go skinny dipping in the Connecticut river late one night because it would “definitely be warm since it’s June and the sun was shining all day.” Yeah right. How you kept a straight face long enough to convince me to also jump into that freezing river I will never know
-Watching you knock your your Senior Fellowship at Dartmouth out of the park from 2004-2005\. Singing Mozart’s Requiem in your choir.
-Going hiking in Colorado, swimming in a gorgeous waterfall basin, and making homemade tiramisu on your cross-country road trip with <div class=”nc684nl6″ style=”display: inline; font-family: inherit;”>Rebecca Rossi</div> .
-Going to the opera in Munich with you and <div class=”nc684nl6″ style=”display: inline; font-family: inherit;”>Sindre Øgaard</div> from 2005-2006\. You were always running late, so Sindre and I would have fun little mini-adventures while waiting for you to arrive in a breathless rush just before curtain time. And I still remember the giggle and excitement in your voice when you told me you had met someone special the previous weekend and asked if he could join us for our long-planned opera date in Munich.
-When you helped me move from Munich to Berlin in 2006, and we were so excited to catch up that we got on the wrong side of the train and had to spend 3 stops jumping out and running bags over to the other side before the trains split and we went in the wrong direction!
-Throwing my 25th birthday bash in my little apartment in the Schoenhauser Allee…we baked 5 cakes and hosted over 40 people in. And even your irrepressible charm couldn’t prevent us from getting an evil glare from the old Oma who lived downstairs because we filled up the ENTIRE recycling bin with empty bottles of Sekt the next day.
-So many Germany memories. Visits, concerts, operas, meals, beers, and day trips with Lydia Marie , Samuel McMullen, Quentin McMullen, Molly McMullen-Laird, Peter J. Verovšek, Ezra Tzfadya, Irene Kacandes, Ulrike Rainer, Bruce Duncan, Ellis Shookman, Veronika Fuechtner, Gerd Gemunden, Mari Webel, Marianne Windholtz Shahid, Anicia Timberlake, Ariel Dora Stern, Martin Habermehl, Margarita Weber, Donna Soave Weber, and so many others. Sitting alongside the Spree and drinking Riesling. Making chocolate chip pancakes. Listening to you giggle while you and Samuel exchanged terrible Yo Mama jokes.
-Wandering all over Kyoto with you and Sindre, drinking tea, eating weird snacks, and exploring temples and shrines until our feet ached. Laughing about the extensive “pillow menu” at the local onsen that you and Sindre visited.
-Soooo many trips to the Cape. Bicycle rides, lighthouses, and beaches. Cooking dinner with Pappap. Breakfast outside every morning. Owen’s first ice cream.
-Car rides….When I built in a layover in Frankfurt on my way back to DC after a conference in Bucharest, so you came down from Leipzig and we drove all around wine country for a day and a half. When we flew back to Boston from Germany and Japan so that we could drive up to Hanover for our 10-year Dartmouth reunion and then down to the Cape to visit Pappap. This month was the 6th anniversary of that trip and I sent you a photo and a short note about it on Monday. It was the last time we talked.
-Calling and messaging back and forth into the early morning hours to help find someone at the State Department who would make it possible for you to travel from London to Colorado without a passport so that you could be there in time for Sky’s memorial service.
-Celebrating Valentines Day 2019 with you and Sindre in London. The gorgeous dessert that Sindre baked. The day we spent biking and wandering around the city. You were the first ones to know that I was pregnant with Lucas because I would only drink a sip of Sekt. What I didn’t know then would be our last hug goodbye at the train station.
-When Neil D’Arco and I got married and you flew back from Germany to help with everything…cooking the welcome dinner for the family gathering at our tiny townhouse, making the flower arrangements, playing maître d’ for the entire bridal suite party, managing the string quartet, reading a poem during the ceremony…I will forever remember you as you were on June 18, 2011\. Not June 18, 2020.
I will think of you every time I see a bottle of Sekt, every time I learn a new word, and every time I hear music. You were taken from us far too soon but you will always live on in all of our hearts. Until we meet again, dear Zeke.