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I am part of a large family. My dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and passed in 2004. One month later my mom was diagnosed with the same and passed in 2010. I lived close so I was their main care giver along with my husband's help. There was also my brother he stayed behind and lived with our parents on the farm. He was a very good man. Not the biggest man but the strongest I have ever known. There came a time before dad passed he began to worry about his farm and what would come of us all. He and Mom decided that they would change things and leave the farm to my brother. This would allow us to all keep coming home, keep in touch and walk and love the farm and each other. Well horribly there were some who did not agree with this and became disgruntled. My brother was treated horribly over it. I could not understand as the farm belonged to our parents, it was their right to do what they felt best. My brother had been there for them their entire lives. He cared for them when they became sick, cared for the house and property when they could not. Together we allowed our parents to die in love and support. Still after all he was crucified for taking the farm, for doing what they thought best. My brother, loved the green space, the creek, the trees. He kept the walking trails groomed. Yet the entire time he was tormented by a family who just could not get their own issues in order. My brother did not waiver on his promise to our parents.

We were close, how could I not be he was the best of men. Kind, joyful, interesting, clam, and steadfast. We did lots of things together, I watched him close as now he was alone in that big house. He came to dinner at my house at least 3 times a month. My home just across the field. He was loved by me, my husband, many siblings and the entire community. Then one miserable day, as I was walking my dog at the local park I was struck with and urgent feeling of him. I needed to see him, right away. I finished my walk thinking I was being silly worrying about my brother as per usual. When I got home, I walked down the path as I had done a million times before, in fact just that day I had sat under the apple tree and visited while he burned brush along the creek. We laughed and talked, cut up the government, and he told me what new adventure he was starting. A park-like area down by the dam our father and his brother had built on the creek way back in 1930. Then I had to go home get some of my own work done. As we walked across the lawn there sat his new John Deere. I had searched long and hard for just the tractor he wanted on the internet. My brother was a simple guy he wanted no part of computers, so he'd let me know what he wanted me to help him with. Looking at the tractor and teasingly I said, "it's dusty", he flashed a big smile and replied " I know, the creek is dry". At that point I thought I should invite him for supper, but then that voice inside that monitored my mother-hen side said no, leave him to his work, I'll ask him for Sunday dinner tomorrow. But as I answered that urgent voice to come see him that evening, I walked with a calm panic in my chest. it was a clam and surreally still evening. As I walked closer I saw the doors to the farmhouse open, the out buildings too. It was getting to late for my brother, he was like a clock, things should be closing up by this time of evening. What was he doing tonight? I walked the yard and around the house calling, I never had to do that as he would always pop up from behind a garden somewhere. Only he didn't. The pressure in my chest was palpable and my heart began to bet faster, I began to feel panicky. I thought of the dam but did not allow myself to go there as it was a silly thought this time of night. As the minutes went by the pressure and urgency began to squeeze my lungs and heart. I stopped and called my brother down the road, to see if he had seen him. I then went back down the path to home to get my husband. He was in the pool and I knew he would think my a mother-hen for my concern, but I didn't care this time. This time I thought, "you laugh at me all you want when you find me my brother safe and sound". Leaving the pool and walking to the farm is was now dusk, now even my husband knew that something was amiss. Our dear friends was always in his house by now, we would check the dimly lit lights to let us know he was home and safe each night. But this night there were no lights, the doors were still open, we began to search faster, and as we walked to his John Deere shed, we instantly knew there was a problem as his tractor was not there, not put away for the night. After that it was moments as my husband ran to the dam, as I stood waiting near the phone on the porch. In a moment I heard the shrill cries of "call 911". The rest is clouded, but I lost my brother that day. The urgent request in my chest from an hour before came from my brother. He came to say, "come see me, come find me, it is bad, very bad, and I am sorry but it will be ok". He was doing what he loved, working on the farm, his beautiful green space, taking care of it just like his parents had asked him to do. He died instantly, there was no pain, he was with his dad and mom now, he had missed them so. But he told me when mom passed, as he held my hand, if you don't make it I won't. So now what about me? How do I survive this. He was my dearest friend, our dearest friend, when I look out my back windows I see his farm, I see where he took his last breath. MY future included him just as had my past. My husband and I have bought my brother's farm, we take care of it for him, and his community. I cry loud and hard every single time I cut the grass. I sit on the lawn tractor and whale. I am his executor, his estate has been difficult, sometimes family is so stupid. I am so tired. I worry I cannot look after his farm as good as he did. My husband and I have a busy life of our own. Sometimes I just know we will die trying, and I think that's ok with us. thanks so much for listening, Sandra

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What a wonderful person you are! I am so sorry for the loss of your brother, he sounds like the best, I wish my brother and I could be close like that. You've had a wonderful family legacy. I pray for strength to continue as I know you want to keep up the farm. It sounds beautiful.

I know sometimes people fight over wills, but they're losing sight of what is important in their desire for some fleeting monetary gain. What is important is carrying on wishes, peace not discord. My mom put my brother alone in her will, excluding us five daughters...it had nothing to do with us, we weren't estranged or anything, it's just her old time thinking that boys count, not girls. I determined way back when I first heard about it that I would not let it come between me and my brother, that is really is hers to do with as she sees fit...I've lived my whole life without anything from her, I don't need it now, and besides, it was my brother fixing stuff around her place, mowing her lawn, going to church with her, as he lived the closest. Now my mom has dementia and her house was sold for her care, so there was nothing but furniture and trinkets for my brother anyway. I am glad you and your husband were able to buy the farm that means so much to you. Do you have a picture you can share?

I know you're missing your brother, it sounds like the two of you were cut from the same cloth.

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Dear Sandra,

Your very sensitive and caring post over the loss of your brother touched my heart. I am so sorry for the pain you have had to endure over this loss.

Thank you for sharing with us. I wish there were words I could use to comfort you but there really aren't ~ what I can do is let you know that I am here for you and am willing to listen to your stories. One very important thing I have learned when grieving a loved one is it is good to talk about it. It is good to keep memories alive.

Know that I will keep you and your husband in my thoughts as you do your best to care for the farm that meant so much to your brother.


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Your story touches my heart. What sweet souls you and your husband are in being there for your brother when others left him behind, and to honor him and your parents in buying the farm they loved. Those places that we have had to go back to our entire lives are so special....because of the people who made those places home.

With your brother, you can live with no regrets....you remained his sister and friend throughout your lives together....and treasured and honored that relationship you had. He lives on in you....in your spirit, your kindness, and your care of the farm he loved and took such good care of.

I am so sorry for the pain you are enduring over this loss. It's all part of the grieving process, but so difficult to go through. Keep telling the stories of you and your brother and the wonderful bond you shared. You are in my thoughts as you care for that wonderful place and hold your memories of your brother in your heart.

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