Peter Gerald Mack, 1/26/1947-7/31/2011, RIP Beloved Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather and Uncle
As most of you know, my brother-in-law, Peter, passed away yesterday (7/31/2011). He was a young man, only 64 years old. I know some of you are saying, "64 is young? Hardly." Well, when you're looking at it from the vantage point of 46 years it's young because it's going to be here next month. That's the way life goes. When I first met him he was younger than I am now and that was just last month (1989) so by that reckoning I'll be 64 next month (2029) right?
With Peter's passing a cherished part of my life passes too. He was the last person who used my family nickname. Actually, his wife used it when I met her last week because that's all she's ever heard him refer to me as so I guess it isn't truly gone, now that I think about it. His use of my nickname was special to me because he was the only person besides my mother and my Noxon relatives who called me that. The first time he met me he asked me what name I went by and I told him it depended on who was talking to me. I explained it to him and he thought it was cool and told me that it fit me perfectly and he never called me anything else.
I've been thinking about him a lot lately, you wouldn't think, and the thing that keeps coming up in my thoughts is how he loved his family. I remember the Thanksgiving he put on in our single-wide many years ago--and I admit I wasn't that gracious about it at the time but he didn't seem to mind. He thought we needed a family Thanksgiving all together and so we had one. Then there was the Mother's Day when he showed up on Mom's doorstep totally unexpectedly. Not such a big deal, you say? He drove 600 miles overnight to be there to surprise her in the morning. Another memory that keeps coming to the fore is when he came out here after their mother passed away. He and John had planned to clean out their mother's apartment together while I stayed home with Sean, then aged 3. By the time John got over there at the appointed time he had the majority of it done so John didn't have to deal with it. Pretty much all that was left was a pile of "what should we do with this?" and furniture. He didn't do it to be the big man or to make John feel indebted to him. He did it because he wanted to spare his baby brother the grief of having to do it. Just recently he was so excited and proud that Sean got the lead in his class's portion of the 5th grade opera. He wanted so badly to see it the same way he had seen all of John's choir performances when he was in school. We feel so bad that we were unable to upload the performance from the disk and send it to him because it wouldn't work for some reason.
The other thing I remember about Pete was his laugh. When he and John were together they were always laughing. They have pretty much the exact same laugh. If only one of them was laughing I would have to look to see which one it was.
He wasn't a saint. None of us are. Over the years he and John had their disagreements as brothers will. They always got past it though and through it all they remained friends. That friendship and love totally overshadows anything else and it is with love and laughter that I remember Pete.
Give an extra hug or two today to those you love in your corner of the world. Time passes so quickly and you never know which hug will be the last.