Living With Don Johnson

Archive for May 2012

27 years

Posted on: May 13, 2012

How do you sum up 27 years of life into a few paragraphs? It isn’t possible. And I never thought it was possible. And yet, I find myself having to do just that. You see, my baby brother, Douglas, died suddenly on Saturday. It came as quite a shock to all of us. We are still walking around in a fog. How do you summarize the life of someone who held such a large piece of your life. To be honest, you can’t. I’m going to try though.

I met Douglas when he was born. He was late, but he was worth it. He was sick when he was born and had to spend some time in the NICU. The only problem? Douglas was about 10 times the size of the other babies in the NICU. And ,I at 3 years old, was not going to let those doctors take my baby away. I wedged my little 3 year old body in the doorway to try and stop them from taking him out of the room.

Douglas and I had the typical brother sister relationship growing up. He’d pick on me, and I’d pick on him. But, when it came down to it, he was always there to stick up for me even though he was littler.

Douglas was always quick with a joke or a “funny” as we called them growing up. When we lived in Germany, it snowed one day, and he was up on the kitchen table looking out the window, and he saw the tire prints from a car that had just driven out into the snow. He pointed them out to my mom and said “look, carprints.”

We grew up in a military family, so Douglas grew up with the toy soldiers and army men. He wanted to be an Army man one day, so he dressed up in his camo shirt, and my mom used tape to put some rank on his shoulders. Doug insisted that they be put on his knees. Mom wanted to know why, and his answer was logical. He couldn’t see the rank if it was on his shoulders, but he could see the rank if it was on his knees.

Like every family, we have stories that we are quick to whip out when needed. One of our favorites was when Doug was learning how to read and spell. This was the year he was just a little interested in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What he wanted more than anything was the blimp. My mom was spelling it out to my grandmother and Doug told Mom that he could spell. She said okay and asked what she’d spelled. Doug sat a minute going over the letters in his head. And he was so proud when he figured it out. “It’s the ba-lump. The Ninja Turtle Ba-lump”. They have been ba-lumps ever since.  That Goodyear thing that flies over the Superbowl and sporting events? That’s the Goodyear Ba-lump.

I had the pleasure of working with my brother as an adult when we were both working at Starbucks. No one believed that we were related. And we made an awesome team. He actually helped get me the job at Starbucks. And we were always in competition with each other to see if we could be the best.

Speaking of coffee, Douglas was a huge coffee lover. And I think he is perfect proof that coffee does not stunt your growth. I think he started drinking coffee at the age of 3 or 4. There was no turning back.

You could always count on Doug for some piece of useless knowledge. We think he memorized the cards from a Trivial Pursuit game because that seems to be the only place those facts would be useful. I’d often send him a text message asking for the date of some event or a measurement conversion.

One thing all of his friends and family know is Doug’s love of anything Seattle. He was a lifelong Seahawks and Mariners fan. He was elated when the Seahawks made it to the Superbowl. And he was always in season. You would rarely ever catch him in a baseball jersey during football season and vice versa. He was very insistent that you stayed in season.

He was finally reaching the grown up part of his life. He’d graduated college and was in his first year of teaching. And he was about to get married. Maritza, he loved you so much. We were all looking forward to celebrating his new life with you. And now we just celebrate his life.

My brother was so many things to so many different people. He was a teacher and an artist. He was an uncle and a nephew. A son and a grandson. And the world won’t be the same without him.

I love you Douglas. And I miss you so much. You will always and forever be my baby brother.  And while I know you hated the song, it just feels right to sing it to you one more time before you go to sleep.

It’s almost night night time. Let’s put our jammies on. It’s time to brush your teeth and kiss your dad and mom.

Sleep tight little brother.


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