The Brother I knew when we were growing up was not a Friend of Bill W.. I went to college and never really came back home before he got sober. I knew he changed, but distance and rarely seeing each other did not often let me see how much. It took me a long time to accept the compassionate person he became, from the turbulence of what he was during those years.
At the funeral, so many people came to me. After the initial, “You must be his Brother, you look so much like him,” I heard how much he helped other people. I knew he did this, but not to the depth and extent others told me.
I did not need specifics, that’s part of the privacy, but understood immediately how profound his help was to others. Anytime, he was there. Over and over I heard and saw these emotions expressed from all the men and women he held his hand out to. There was a real bravery in some of these people, for telling me, a complete stranger, a very tough part of who they are.
That’s the good of what I received from these people. What I took most from a weekend in which we were all saddened by a person being taken from us way too soon. My Brother was an amazing person in the second act of his life, and I think he’s alright now.