brother portrait

To Seth and parties of five.

I always wondered which one of my siblings would die first. Now I know.

My brother lies in a funeral home, waiting to be cremated. I will fly back to Colorado in the spring when his ashes are interred next to his wife at Greenmount Cemetery in Durango. She also died young, just 53. He’s pictured above in his high school graduation photo taken in 1968, a year after I was born, and below with my late sister-in-law, LauraLee.

Seth and LauraLee, 1970 or 1971. Durango, Colorado.

Seth and LauraLee, 1970 or 1971. Durango, Colorado.

Six years later at the tender age of 23, in addition to being a father to my niece Tiffany, 2, he became legal guardian to me, 6; Carrie, 10; and Lissa, 14, after my mother died in January 1974. Megan, my oldest sister, was 20 and dropped out of college at the University of Colorado after the whole ordeal, moving with us to Leadville, an old mining town way up high in the Rockies, close to Vail.

Because when you lose a parent when you’re young, your whole world turns upside down and it fucks you up.

She never went back to CU. My brother never even started. Because when you lose a parent when you’re young, your whole world turns upside down and it fucks you up. You know that 90s TV show, Party of Five? That was us, minus the big inheritance and awesome San Francisco real estate. All we had was each other, the Colorado Fourteeners, and the deep, white snow.