Remembering Neil Eshelman

28963362_15232024470_r.jpegI'm not the kind of person that likes to paint bright, sunshine-and-roses type settings over dark canvases.  The darkness always seems to seep through and it's just not the picture that needs to hang over this sad occasion. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I may not be able to make it to my brother's funeral, but I can at least start this so we can give him a proper send off. This is mostly for our mother, so she knows she's not alone in this.

I love my brother. I haven't always treated him like I loved him, but I like to think that towards the end of my stay in Florida, he and I had some great, memorable moments that I will always hold onto and cherish. I always hoped I'd be able to see him again, to watch a movie with and listen to his oft commentary, or toss some dice together, but you just never know how much time each of us have on this earth.

We all know he liked to push people's buttons. Growing up with him, he was always like that. Being raised among rotten Italians like us, that could mean that the boy didn't always get the love he craved from us. I was an awful brother to grow up with and even more awful toward him in my early adult years, but true love requires a deep level of understanding and maturity. Maturity was just never mine and Neil's strong suit. But I know that all throughout his tortured existence, he did have a strong cheering section, just look at his facebook page and all the memorable things mentioned of him there. It reminds me that his life shouldn't be marked only by his faults and failures. He was a friend when needed and he was an ear that was willing to listen if anyone needed something. He was always the ear I ran to first when I needed some nerd one on one, especially when there were some capes and tights to discuss.

I was a very socially inept individual up until my twenties and it was late into that decade when he and I grew really close. When I ran away from who I thought I was and sought to find out who I really was. Neil helped bring out the charm in me and taught me how, and what it was, to make people laugh. I fought with him in the end and prayed with him, and cheered him on, hoping he'd win this battle. I guess not every super hero story ends in victory, but I hope his story helps others to find help when there's help to be found, and to never give up.
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Corey F. Piazza 
Tampa, FL
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