Happy Birthday, Todd.

todd pic2 by verlander jpgToday would have been my brother’s 56th birthday. Two days ago was the 50th anniversary of my father’s death from cancer in 1963. The math is simple: Todd lost his father at the age of six, a more crucial bonding moment between a boy and his dad there is not. In many ways Todd’s entire life was a reaction to this trauma. Those of us who knew him know that he seriously rallied: he lived fully, worked and played very hard, and loved deeply. We also know that his life was scarred by this tragedy, that he was (in his own words) “waiting for the other shoe to fall” every day. But he didn’t give up. At least for those 54 years until he did. God knows he felt like it most of the time.

I’ve spent a lot of this blog recounting the ins and outs of his genius and his madness. I won’t spend today doing that. But I’d love to hear from the rest of you and invite you to use the comments section here or email me (paulrgodwin@me.com) anything you might like to share about your experience of the Toddwin and maybe what you miss from the world when he walked and talked. And let me know if it’s okay to post it too.

I read somewhere that we become those who were close to us who’ve died. I’ve spent the last two years with Todd very close to me, I became him in a way. The other day I realized just why that was: I missed him so badly that I wanted him to remain in my life. So I became the parts of him that I could and here he was, right next to me. Imagine how crowded the bed became at home and how uncomfortable it was to see double Godwin for those close to me. I’m done with all that.

Todd chose to leave here two years ago. Whether it was a rash decision that moment, that morning, that week, that month, that year, he had been contemplating it for a long time. I’ve realized that it’s okay. He wanted to leave, he was tired of fighting, he was exhausted from the pain, the medication, his sense of failure, what he perceived as an endless uphill battle that boys who hadn’t lost their dad did not have to fight. Of course there he was mistaken. We all have to fight to survive, to succeed, we all have setbacks and traumas and hurdles, in that he wasn’t so special. The main thing is that he did: he fought back and he survived and he succeeded and he made us laugh and he delighted us with his insanity and his gigantic heart. Happy Birthday my brother.

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