My brother, Blue, was the kind of guy that would light up a room with his big booming voice and infectious laugh. At 6'7" you can see why he was hard to miss. He had a huge smile, the sense of humor of a standup comic and playfulness of a kid. He was good looking, a talented bass player in various bands as well as being an amazing chef. He worked in sales at one point and he could literally sell ice to an Eskimo, he had endless charm and great potential in life. He seemed to have it all.
Unfortunately for him life threw him a major curveball and everything he had going for him came crashing down one step at a time. Blue was also a security guard at a well known Seattle club in the mid-nineties and had an unfortunate accident while loading out gear for a band after a show. He had a large speaker stack literally fall on his head and compress his spine which ruptured multiple disks in one fateful moment. He had constant pain and a condition went undiagnosed for years and only worsened. By the time it was diagnosed the only option was to have back surgery. He had the surgery and it was a success only to be negated by a car accident a few years later and then and another work related accident. He had surgery one and two more times for a total of three. The last one left him with debilitating nerve damage (or neuropathy). He lost allot of feeling in his hands and feet and he had a hard time standing for any period of time. He had become virtually if not completely disabled and unable to work. He received some compensation from the Department of Labor and Industries for his loss of function but barely enough to survive. They treated him horribly and like a second class citizen. His health insurance was cut off less then a year after his final surgery and therefore his access to any kind of pain relief for his chronic pain. They also told him that if he applied for any other assistance that they would drop his minimal living expenses that they allotted him. He had burning sensations in his feet, hands and back and felt that he had no other choice then to self medicate and he did that with alcohol. Blue drank an unreal amount of alcohol in order to deal with the cards that he'd been dealt. He'd slipped between the cracks of the system and was left to fend for himself with virtually nothing and no relief. After years of trying to reach a settlement to get out from grasp that L&I had on him, they didn't offer him what he had been promised as a lump sum but that they would pay for him to go back to school to get retrained for a new 'career'. They let him know that promptly after graduation he would be cut off of any financial support for good. So with that in mind three years ago he moved away from the NW to go Midwest with his girlfriend to take advantage of the one and only option he had been offered. Despite drinking to deal with his constant pain the entire time he was able to stay focused and got A grades all through school. He really wanted to get through school and come back home to Oregon where he knew he would be able to get public assistance healthcare for his situation and his financial circumstances. Unfortunately after making it all of the way through schooling and in the final quarter he fell into epileptic seizures in class and was taken to the hospital where he was put into an induced coma for 2 weeks to treat him for alcohol withdrawal. When he awoke he found that L&I had cut off all funding to schooling and living expenses due to his regular drinking even though they refused to give him any healthcare or pain relief. All of this too in spite of the fact that he was an A student. He was sober after coming out of the coma but he was so depressed that his last hope of a new life was thwarted, that he now had no income and he was wracked with constant pain.....so he began drinking again. The doctors told him if he drank again he would die. He felt he had no hope, no possible future and there was no point in trying to live. His girlfriend urged him to go back to Oregon where he could get healthcare and be with family. So after all of that he took the train home to come stay with me and try to pick up the pieces. I took him in and applied for healthcare for him. It didn't come in time and it honestly probably wouldn't have changed the outcome for him. His mind, body and spirit were tired and spent dealing with the ordeal that had to dealt to him. Blue lumbered his way around and and tried the best he could to not make a big deal out of it. It was very sad to watch and I was as supportive and loving as I could be. On the afternoon of March 5th, 2015 I returned to the house after running errands for a few hours and I found that he had passed away in his sleep on my couch. It was brutally painful but I was grateful that he went peacefully after having 20 years of pain and struggle. Even up until the end he was funny, big hearted and wanted to have another chance at life. Unfortunately that didn't happen and his body just gave out. I miss my brother so much it that makes me hurt all over. The silver lining to me is that Blue is free of his pain and suffering now and with my mother(pictured with him) who passed away two years ago. I know that they are both smiling down on me and looking over me and my kids.
All of that being said, now I want to honor Blue and lay him to rest respectfully. I'm hoping for some assistance with the expenses involved in post death arrangements. Any amount will help no matter how small. Please leave a donation if you can. Thank you so much.
p.s. Please hold those you love close and always remember to tell them how much you love them. Life is short and we never know how long we have with our loved ones.
- Robert Rapier
- Mike and Dot
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