If you're lucky enough to have people in your life you care deeply about, call or visit them and tell them you love them. Don't miss an opportunity to give them your time, constant support and unconditional love. Ultimately, this will be the greatest gift you can ever give yourself.
What can I say about my big brother, Chuck? I'm so fortunate to have had a best friend and positive influence throughout my entire life. No matter what I did or said, he saw only the good in me. Long after we lost our parents, he remained a constant source of encouragement to me. When I was with Chuck, I was "home."
Chuck lost a hard-fought battle with acute myeloid leukemia on Sept. 6. After he received his diagnosis, he learned everything he could about AML. He then made the decision to remain positive and hopeful about surviving it.
He acted with grace, humor and dignity toward everyone who walked into his hospital room. He asked all of his doctors and nurses to have their picture taken in Groucho Marx glasses, putting his own personal touch on such an inhumane and frightening experience. When I reflect on how hard he fought to beat this disease, my heart aches.
Chuck was a smart, funny, one-of-a-kind guy -- usually clad in a Hawaiian shirt, cowboy boots, goatee and bald head. If you called him on the phone, he'd answer, "Hola!" or "Hey, kid!" He was incredibly intense about many things in his life, especially politics. If you read Everybody's Column in The Buffalo News, then you know Chuck Morlock wrote in often.
He was devoted to his wife, Peg, who enjoys sporting her diva-style outfits of rhinestones and animal prints. Chuck's son tagged it "Peg's leopard yin to Chuck's Hawaiian yang." Together they made an amazing team, spending their time laughing at the world with each other, while the rest of us wondered what was so funny. After being around them for a while, it became crystal clear that they simply viewed the world through the same zany lens. There was so much love.
Chuck lived a great big, loud, full life, and wore his heart on his sleeve. He cherished his wife, sons, granddaughter, family, friends, home and country. He was passionate about his community, gardening, hunting, sailing, wine, beer, food and his dog.
Like my younger brother, Mike, he carried on our father's legacy of living a life driven by gratitude, kindness and generosity. Chuck made every day count, and made everyone in his life feel loved and valued.
He was one of my life's greatest blessings. He was a treasure. His presence in my life was a constant connection to our family's history, our incredible parents and all of our wonderful childhood memories. Chuck and I shared a loyalty to one another that was instilled in us at birth, and never wavered.
He'd say, "Hey, kid, I love you!" before he hung up the phone. I always answered with the same. I'm filled with sorrow at his passing. Thankfully, I'm comforted and blessed with the absolute certainty of our significance to one another. That is a gift!
Life can change in an instant. We simply don't know what tomorrow will bring. So give the people you care about your time, support and love. It's a gift that keeps on giving.
Lynn Eberle, a teacher who lives in Hamburg, is now the proud owner of a new pair of Groucho Marx glasses.