The first time I met my brother-in-law was the day of the rehearsal for our wedding. I remember being on the front porch of the house and seeing them pull in. As they got out of the car, I immediately knew that this was Kevin because I could see lines of Rob in him, but I also remember being surprised at how much bigger he was.
Rob isn’t a slight man, but Kevin was a head taller with broad shoulders. He hung back as the rest of his family piled out of the car. Shawna was warm and outgoing. We hugged as Kevin shook hands with his brother, each of them formal in different ways. The kids were varying shades of shy. What I remember most clearly about Kevin on that weekend was that he was frequently to the side or in the background but also always present. He was listening, curious, and interested in what others had to say.
Over the years, we didn’t see Rob’s brother and his family as often as we would have liked because we lived in different states. Because our lives were complicated in different ways. Because we always assumed we would be able to see them later.
We were wrong.
Kevin was killed in an automobile accident two weeks ago. His funeral is today.
I’ve been thinking about the last time I saw him. We’d gone up for the fourth of July weekend in 2021. Rob and Kevin’s folks were there. Kevin and Shawna’s kids and grandkids were all there. It was a magical weekend.
He and Shawna love the outdoors, so their home has all of these wonderful outside spaces. He had a great laugh that you could hear from wherever you were sitting.
I remember sitting up late one night and that somehow we fell into a conversation about the infinite and the divine. I wish I could remember the specifics, because Kevin talked about our place in the cosmos and how it affected his ideas. All I can remember is that he kept apologizing for rambling but it wasn’t a ramble. It was beautiful and a carefully thought-out philosophy. I remember that I could see the way it shaped how he moved through the world.
He was a person who made things. He was a master carpenter and made cabinets and furniture and the table his family eats at and the shelves we keep our books on. He made space for people. He made space for quiet. He made space for his family.
I wish he were still with us.