Monday, August 20, 2012

He Was There From The Start


My brother, John, was two years older than I, so he was there to show me the ropes from the first.  We grew up in Pasadena, California and spent every summer in Newport Beach, California. John was there to introduce me and our brother, Stuart to all of the important things. He showed me that eating sand might not be the best thing in the world, but that standing up tall was always good.....


John was a different sort of brother. He was smart and creative. He was the chief sand fort builder and fireworks starter every summer. The best egg finder every Easter and lead toy train engineer every Christmas......



He was a very happy camper in his youth....


John was an athlete, and won the Best All Around Player in our football league his last year of High School. He was a sailor and an artist, a music aficionado (Moody Blues, the Beatles, Eric Clapton...he was the expert.) He taught me about all the greats....



John lived in New Mexico in Santa Fe, and I would visit twice a year at Christmas and in the Summer. He loved the wide open spaces and walking in the desert. He taught me to love it too....


John went off to college in Las Cruces, New Mexico and made the town his home. But he would come and visit every year.

John was there for the important things. He stood by me at my wedding......


He was a doting uncle and could not wait to hear what my girls were doing and looked forward to seeing them every Christmas.....


 My brother John was so many things. Gentle, compassionate, caring and grateful for what he had in his life. He had a very simple life compared to most, and yet it was what he wanted. John was all of these things, and yet, he was different. John was also challenged with schizophrenia. His condition made for some very difficult moments, especially before medications became available that were more effective at keeping the demons at bay. But medications did improve, and John had a life that worked for him, friends and a community who cared for him. Yet, these same medications that helped him so much also created health issues that finally took their toll.

John unexpectedly passed away last week, and I will miss him so very much. My big brother.

John would walk in the desert every day and gaze at the beauty of the Organ Mountain Range on the east side of the Rio Grande's rift valley. We would talk about how beautiful it was. He passed away in a place he loved, and we will place him to rest there this week.

I like to think of John with his happy grin, like we had cruising in the back of our station wagon before we had seat belts, when we had it all in front of us without a care....


John Stevenson Ferrier, Junior
April 18, 1957 - August 13, 2012

47 comments:

Kate said...

My condolences to you and your family. What a beautiful tribute - you made me wish I had known him. My thoughts are with you.

maison21 said...

katie, i am so sorry for your loss. i can't imagine the pain and sadness you are feeling right now. i wish. i was there to give you a big hug.

Anonymous said...

How heartbreaking. My condolences. I too had a loved family member, older than your brother, who was struck with this illness in the middle of a very successful career and new marriage. Unfortunately, he lived in a country where medication and psychiatric care were not available to any read degree. He lived a hermit, very ill, for almost 50 years and managed to do this with the love and dedication with his family. He suffered incredibly.
I am sorry for your loss but happy that your brother led a good and happy independent life.
Sherry

kathryn cain said...

yoy do not need to know a person, to know their heart is hurting...my heart goes out to you, the pictures tell the story of a well lived live,and a story of a man who knew he was loved..I wish their we're words that would help,but you are taking the steps, take care and hold those who you love

Dawn | enterloop said...

Katie, I am a longtime reader of your blog and I am so sorry for your loss. The bond between siblings is a such a special one. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Kate Lewis said...

what a beautiful post. thank you for sharing these images and stories about your brother. my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. xo kate

Pink Benny said...

What a beautiful tribute. Prayers for compassion for your family and you.

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desde mis
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COMPARTIENDO ILUSION
KATIE FAMILY

CON saludos de la luna al
reflejarse en el mar de la
poesía...




ESPERO SEAN DE VUESTRO AGRADO EL POST POETIZADO DE BAILANDO CON LOBOS, THE ARTIST, TITANIC SIÉNTEME DE CRIADAS Y SEÑORAS, FLOR DE PASCUA ENEMIGOS PUBLICOS HÁLITO DESAYUNO CON DIAMANTES TIFÓN PULP FICTION, ESTALLIDO MAMMA MIA,JEAN EYRE , TOQUE DE CANELA, STAR WARS,

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Renae Moore said...

Katie,
I am so sorry...I know your heart is indescribably. You shared such wonderful memories, may you cherish them for a lifetime. Blessings and prayers to your family. May the Lord comfort you with His peace that passes all understanding.
xx

Anonymous said...

No words. Been there. Bless you all.

-F

Marisa/Stylebeat said...

Katie I am so sorry for your loss. You honored his memory beautifully-
you are in my thoughts, Marisa

mary said...

Hi Katie, Words are insufficient to express grief. My youngest son is different-a beautiful and enormous soul whose path differs from the acceptable norm. My heart goes out to you and your mom--sending love. Your memorial to him leaves me speechless. Thank you. Mary

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this most intimate time in your life with all of us. You wrote such a very eloquent remembrance touching us all.

cindy said...

Oh my gosh Katie...I started reading this post while working and assumed it was an unexpected death. I just read the whole thing. My sister has a daughter who is bipolar..possibly schizophrenic. I can only imagine your pain. Your brother John is three years younger than I. I read about you getting your girls off to college and can identify (although mine are now out and grown) and now I feel your pain....so sorry..such a lovely tribute...

Karena said...

Katie I am so very sorry and I know this has left a whole in your heart. You wrote a wonderful tribute to John. You have so many memories to cherish.

Hugs and prayers to you and your family!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a touching tribute to your brother...

home before dark said...

I worked in mental health for 13 years in public relations and fundraising. I live in a university town filled with the 18-25 year olds where often this illness makes itself manifest. I watched these brave men and women try to make the best of some very difficult odds. They were some of the strongest people I ever met.

For your brother, I wish him peace and am grateful he had the support from a family who knew him then and loved him always.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing stories of your brother and the love you shared, as well as reminding us to appreciate those we have. So very sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Katie, I read your blog regularly and am always inspired. Today your tribute to your brother brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story of unconditional love and acceptance. Once again you inspire me; this time to love and cherish whenever we are given the chance. God bless you and your family.

Lisa said...

Dear Katie,

Thank you so much for this sweet and wonderful post. I too have a brother who suffers from schizophrenia. You reminded me that he is probably the sweetest person I have ever known and I sometimes forget that and fail to appreciate this rare and genuine quality in him. Thank you and God bless you.

Splendid Sass said...

Katie-
I am so happy that you were able to spend so many years beside your brother. I am so saddened to learn that you have lost him.
I hope that you will find peace and comfort during this difficult time. My prayers are with you and your family.
This horrible illness takes its toll on so many, and I pray that a cure will be found.
Teresa

Laurel said...

Hi Katie,

I'm a relatively new reader and I just wanted to express my sincere condolences for your tragic loss. I too, lost my brother way too soon and without warning 25 years ago, when he was 38 and I was 31. He died suddenly of a heart arrhythmia. I wish that I could say that the pain gets better. Of course, life does go on, and one thing I realized many years later is that a lot of wonderful things happened, BECAUSE he died. I took my inheritance and went back to college---Yes, for interior design. And my first son was conceived on the second anniversary of his death. I feel his spirit with me, more and more, the older I get.

My extended family has also been plagued with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders and I have a son with autism. My fervent hope is that one day, everyone will be able to speak as candidly and eloquently as you just did in regard to these differences. There is no shame in mental illness. However, I feel that there's still so much stygma and that these disorders are still so sorely misunderstood.

I will pray that your dear brother's soul is finally at peace.

Thank you for sharing with us the beautiful photos and memories that will forever live inside your heart.

My best,

Laurel

Pigtown*Design said...

I am so sorry to hear your news. Please know that we're all thinking of you and your family.

xo

Kelly said...

This post, with the great old photos, is such a wonderful tribute to your love for your big brother. It must have been so emotional to compose. Nothing, I'm sure, to the heartache you & your families are going through.

Thank you for sharing this. Prayers for peace.

Anonymous said...

A lovely tribute from a sister who was clearly very loved by her big brother.

Natalie Larsen said...

So, so sorry for your loss. Wonderful pictures and writing. Thank you for sharing your brother with us.

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Katie, I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your brother. Your post made me smile and brought tears to my eyes. My mom is in hospice and I have spent the summer back and forth between Dallas and Virginia. Losing a loved one is not easy. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Oh Katie, with tears in my eyes, I hug you from afar. I am soo sorry for your loss. I have seen what this disease can do, how it can torment...and the bravity it shows. He was loved. My very best healing thoughts to you and your family!

Nancy said...

Im so sorry for the loss of your brother. What a beautiful post. Our prayers are with you and your family in this difficult time. Nice of you to show us his great s spirit and what a great brother he was to you!.
xo Nancy
Powellbrowerhome.com

columnist said...

My condolences. You pay a lovely tribute to your big brother, which is very touching. I hope you will find the strength within you to get through this very difficult period.

diane said...

Your brother would be proud of this beautiful tribute to him. I, too, lost a brother way too early and it is a hole that is never filled. But you have wonderful photos and memories to help. May God be with you and your family.

Annette said...

Such a lovely and heartfelt presentation of your brother. My sincere condolences on such a painful loss.

Linda Merrill said...

Dear Katie, I am so sorry for your loss. You and your brother clearly had such a deep bond, one that can't be broken. Hugs to you and your family.

Debra said...

Such beautiful images filled with love. So sorry for your loss. God bless you and your family.

Diane Weidinger said...

Dear Katie, Stewart, Ann, Your hearts are heavy with pain and sorrow, mine is as well.John was a special person. I will miss seeing him when we visit each Christmas. Our thoughts and prayers. Love Phil and Diane

Elizabeth Golden said...

What a wonderful tribute to your brother. You obviously shared something very special. I loved the pictures that went along with your tribute.
Losing someone like this is very hard. I am sending heartfelt thoughts and prayers your way.
Peace

Anonymous said...

I lost my big brother four years ago this July. He was very sick for several years, but tried to live a full life all the way up to his passing a day before his 65th birthday. I still think of us (myself and my siblings) as a family of four, but then I sadly realize there is only three of us now. My heartfelt condolences to you.

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carports prices said...

Those old photos are really cool! Nice page.

pve design said...

Katie-
I take certain signs and symbols very seriously and the fact that there on my kitchen counter a moment ago was the luckiest katie-did grasshopper. It made me think of you. Here I am, little did I know of this post and the loss of your brother. The fact that the little lucky grasshopper came to me.....shows me how the Universe connects us. My sister, her son suffers the same disease and we all love and adore him - I feel the same love you have in this post for your brother.
My love to you and your family.
pve

Jill said...

I am very sorry for your loss. At the same time, I am touched by the loving relationship you shared. I hope that my daughters will look up to their big brother in much the same way.

You are blessed to have such wonderful memories of the time you had together.

Houston Patio said...

Sincere condolences, Katie. Your post is a beautiful tribute to your brother. It touched me. And I'm sure he was happy to read it.

mikky said...

I am so sorry for your loss. John sounds like he was a fantastic guy, really sweet. I am sure it will be a hard Christmas this year, I hope you think of nothing but the fond memories and have a few laughs reminising about him. Gone too soon. Sad. Hope you are doing alright.

:)
mikky
www.todaloos.com

msajrogers said...

Much love to you and your family...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post. I too lost a brother (he was 17 and I was just shy of 21). Siblings share our genes. They are part of us in a way that nobody else can be. He is still in you,and his departure won't change that. What made my pain easier to bear was that it was mine. My brother was not suffering. I wish you strength. Hugs to you...

Valorie Hart - The Visual Vamp said...

I cannot imagine your sadness. xo xo

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