My brother, Tim, did not like to ask for help. He’d ask me for help. He’d ask my mother and father for help. That was about the entirety of the list of people he sought out for help. Our parents are the same way and as their sons, we turned out the same way. Of course, it’s a foolish principle to stand on. After all, your own two legs only have so much strength, so much they can hold. Tim was so tough and strong I never thought he’d need help for anything. In high school, once, he sprained his ankle during a basketball game and simply tightened the strings on his shoes—no brace, no tape—and finished the game. At home that night, his ankle had swollen to the size of a baseball. He didn’t complain or say it hurt. He barely hobbled on it. Tim took all his pain and pushed it some place inside of himself and held it there so that he could do whatever was at hand. When he became sick with cancer, he did the same thing. He rarely mentioned his pain. He never mentioned the degree to which he was in pain. I know now he suffered greatly, but he hid that from us to spare us. His passing has devastated me. It’s devastated our family. This grief is boundless pain that cannot be locked away and that the wind cannot carry to a different place.
So, I’m asking for help. Not for me. For my brother. Tim died from lung cancer 5 months shy of his 50th birthday, leaving behind two sons, Cooper and Davis, ages 14 and 11, respectively. He leaves behind his wife, Callie. He leaves behind countless friends who knew him across the country as a committed scientist, an exceptional basketball player and golfer, and a fun-loving companion. In these days after his death—a word still too hard to write—it seems the most I can do right now is seek out help to ensure the future of my nephews’ college education. It wasn’t just Tim’s own advanced degree that made him understand the value of education, it was that we were the sons of two parents who were the first in their families to attend college and we were taught to value education’s ability to make you a stronger person by making you a stronger thinker. To be frank, Tim didn’t truck with stupidity. He especially couldn’t stand folks who were willfully ignorant. His hopes for his sons were that they, like him, would find some sense of a calling once they were in college as he had.
Your gift to the education fund of Cooper and Davis ensures they will be able to attend college with minimal financial burden in the same fashion our parents afforded Tim and me, which allowed us to pursue our dreams. No gift is too small. All money raised will be deposited into the boys’ 529 college funds where this gift will grow and compound over time. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to ease this burden on Callie’s mind as she navigates these immediate days in the wake of Tim’s passing and the months to come as so many new challenges—both financial and emotional—lie ahead.
I loved my brother. Until I had my own family, there was no one I loved more on this earth, no one I would have done more for than him. As much as I loved him, as much as I miss him, I know Callie and his sons will miss him more, that their love is entirely different kind of beauty that resided in his heart and that he cherished each day. The least I can do is ask this for him because, of course, even if he could, he would not.
- Donna Mendrick
- Pamela K Cline
Organizer and beneficiary
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