An Ode to My Brothers

 

By Tom Rodriguez

          Part I
The Growing Years

The Rodriguez Brothers
Branches of a big tree
Descendants of Aztec warriors
And Spanish conquistadores

The children born to two
Immigrants from Mexico
Who lived through 
The Great Depression
And endured to find 
Love and start their family

Richard, Thomas
John and Michael
Was the order of 
Our birth

And so began the
Bond of brothers
A bond that’s like no other
The anchors in my life

We were called 
The Four Bears
A name that stuck
And always 
Made us smile

We slept two to a bed
In one large bedroom
You get to know each
Other pretty good
When you 
Grow up like that

Everyone should have 
Brothers like mine
My constant companions
Our roots grew deep
Connected by love

We were a family
Standing side by side
We fought and laughed
And cried together
In good times and bad
As we learned life’s
Important lessons

I could not have
Chosen better brothers
They were there 
With me through  
Everything

********

Selling newspapers
Shining shoes
Picking Potatoes
And Tomatoes
Strawberries and Apples
Riding Boxcars
Going Crawdad Fishing
Swimming in the River
Playing pick-up baseball
Basketball and football
Gathering Black Walnuts
Riding our bikes
Celebrating our Birthdays
Shooting Fireworks on the 4th
Going Trick or Treating
Family Thanksgiving feasts
Opening Christmas gifts 
Building snowmen
Grade School and High School
Elvis and Rock ‘N Roll
And Girls…

          Part II
Living The Dream

We grew tall and lean
Strong of body and mind
As we ventured 
Out into the world
Secure in the values
And principles 
Passed on to us by
Our beloved parents

Richard to the Air Force
Thomas to the Army
John to college
Michael to the Army and
To Vietnam

Back home again
Following our service
We all found wives
And started our families

Successful careers
Richard at the Post Office
Thomas, John and Michael
Earned college degrees
And found good jobs
Life was good
For the Four Bears

My brothers were the best
Wise men to confide in
And to seek advice from
Never an argument
Always love and respect

          Part III
Life’s Cruel Blows

Sometimes in life
Fate steps in and
Breaks a heart
As lives take 
Unexpected turns

Hard as it may be 
No one lives a life
Without some pain
Still, I always thought
That we would live long lives
But I was wrong
Nothing lasts forever

Death took my brothers
In two short years
The cruelest years
I’ve ever known

My treasured friends
That I loved and cherished
Who shared my name
Were gone forever
And I alone remained

For all of my life
My brothers were
Always there to lean on
To encourage and listen
To understand and 
Give me unconditional 
Love 

With their passing 
A frightening 
Unshakeable 
Heavy feeling
Of being alone
In the world
Enveloped me

Sadly
So much was 
Left unsaid
And undone

I have never 
Been the same
Or ever will 
Be again
And thoughts 
Of my brothers 
Still flood my mind
Almost everyday

As the years go by
I often think
Do people really die
When there are still
Loved ones who
Remember them
For me I know
They don’t

So rest in peace my brothers
I was so blessed 
To have known all of you and
I will keep you
In my heart for all
The remaining days of my life

 

 

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