Jun 16, 2016

The Best Big Brothers Are Made, Not Born...

My parents invented me a brilliant, mercurial older brother named "Edward" and spun endless yarns about him. Decades later, he materialized in my life as Edward Readicker-Henderson, the epic writer and deep soul who died last night.

He'd been ill such a long time: since 1990, in fact. Yet he still roamed the globe because it kept his words and best-self burning bright. "Cheating death," he called it in a National Geographic Traveler feature. "Traveling teaches us to dare, again and again, to say yes to the moments of wonder, so many of them, blown across the landscape with the generous weight of seeded flowers — and to share them with the people we hold dear."

I was lucky to number among those. Edward and I met in Jordan, drove the Cassiar Highway down from Alaska and took the mailboat up Norway's coast. We saw the last white rhinos in Uganda – or was it Kenya? – and road-tripped the Balkans, laughing so much he said it saved his life. One time I fell off a 15-foot dock in Italy, smack into Lago di Como, and he skipped a tête-à-tête to commiserate while I cried fully clothed in the shower and then iced my bruised flank with prosecco bottles. But like all good big brothers, he never let me forget that I'd foiled his move...

Equally precious were those simple times by the lake with his stripey dog Albert or watching coeds bobble through zombie flicks, while we ate gas station pizza (back before they ruined it). Moments didn't need to bear weight to be momentous. That is the gift of joy he gave me and everyone he loved... and even those who just brushed against his stories in passing.

He reminded us all to cherish the world's beauty. And though his spirituality moved through profound, labyrinthine channels, he would most often sum it up with this line from Joe Versus The Volcano: "Dear God, whose name I do not know... I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life."

Goodbye, dearheart. Rest easy now.

ERH's TEDx talk, "Kill Your Bucket List:" http://bit.ly/1UefJoK
His website: www.routeofseeing.com
"Cheating Death:" http://on.natgeo.com/28LqAQO
His book "Listening For Quiet:" http://amzn.to/23gTAvP
The obit I wrote in Sierra magazine: http://bit.ly/2b4Sm7i
Tribute from AFAR magazine: http://bit.ly/1UB0zgO
Eulogy by Steve Sullivan: http://bit.ly/1XuyNoz
Memorial details: http://bit.ly/1OuS9qP

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