After we get flu shots for the kids (oh joy!) we'll head to Huntington, to Pilgrim's Rest Cemetery. For the past eight years we've headed there on 12/30 to visit my brother Matt's gravesite. In 2001 he was killed by a drunk driver.
As a side note, if you drink and drive, and you are my friend, KNOCK IT OFF!
My brother Matt is buried next to my brother Ben, who was died in August 1994. Ben was almost 14 when he died of a brain tumor, Matt was almost 24 when he was killed. It's not like we enjoy going to the cemetery twice a year, but it's a way for us to remember them, their life, and that we miss them. They've never met any of their nephews and nieces, unfortunately. Which is why we value the visits, the times to tell stories, to laugh and wince and remember.
Tara and I hosted on Sunday the Hallman Christmas - twenty of us packed into our home for a feast and gift unwrapping festivities. It was a long string of tables, what with my Dad and Mum, Mike & Jana and their four kiddos, Jerm & Maria and their two, and then our four.
Dad sat at one end of the tables, I at the other. As I chewed my ham and gulped my "Can we drink this yet" punch, I looked down at the table and wondered how we would've fit Matt's family and Ben's family into the arrangement.
Ben wanted to become a preacher. Would he have gone to Huntington College like his brothers and parents and aunts and other family members? Would he have found someone to marry at HC like his brothers and father? What kind of church would he have pastored? How many kids would he have had?
What about Matt? Would he have found a cute Mexican girl while stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas? As a cook in the Army, how would his service in Iraq affected him? Would he have survived? What restaurant would he be working in now, all these years later? Would his kids be as sweet and stubborn as him?
So: hey Matt, we miss ya! Miss you to, Ben.