To My Brother Jay

In the early morning hours last night, my brother passed away in his sleep. Despite a very healthy lifestyle (he loved golf, cycling, and playing ice hockey; never smoked; and had to be coerced to have a glass of wine with a meal) he suffered from a heart condition that countless doctors could not figure out. He’s survived by his wife and two wonderful kids.

He’s one of the big reasons I love action figures and photography. I lived with him a few summers while I was in college and he was out in the working world. He had stopped collecting comics, but he let me go through his long boxes, and I was introduced to Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Claremont and Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men, Frank Miller’s Daredevil, and a whole lot more. I got hooked.

A few years later, he lived with me while recuperating from a terrible motorcycle accident, but he was a bit disappointed in my comic collection – what can I say? – it was the 90s. When he survived his first heart attack, I gave him a Marvel Legends First Appearance Iron Man. And in more recent times, I shared some titles with him that were more worthy of his attention, like Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men and Brubaker’s Captain America and Immortal Iron Fist.

I spoke to him a couple of days ago. No talk of comics, but I was going to recommend he read Gail Simone’s Secret Six. I feel an emptiness that defies description. Jay, I love you and miss you.

Update: I’m at the airport, waiting for my flight to join my family at my brother’s home. When I first pressed the publish button on this post, I almost immediately recalled it – I thought it was horribly self-indulgent and not what folks are signed up to see here – I apologize if anybody was offended.

For those of you who have left comments or sent me messages directly – thank you so much. I’m still in a daze and imagine I will be this way for some time, but your thoughts and encouragement have been very helpful. Thank you again!

28 thoughts on “To My Brother Jay”

  1. ron,
    my thoughts are with you as you go through this. i know nothing i say can help mitigate the enormous sorrow you feel, but there is no doubt that we all feel connected to your loss. death is one of the few universal experiences of human life and so we all wish you the very best as you mourn this major loss.

  2. Jay was my brother in law but I have known Jay since Ron / I were in High School so he is more than that. He is the older brother I never had. Ron’s tribute is truly touching , because they were the best of brothers & like Raph, Jay was known for being extremely physically agile &  courageous–but always using his powers for good. And that will be how I remember Jay. “Raise some shell” for our brother & family who will always miss & love him.

  3. Ron,
    This is such a touching tribute, and you and your family have Lacey and my deepest sympathies. Please take care and you will be in our thoughts. All my best.

  4. So sorry to hear about the loss of your brother, Ron. I can’t imagine lossing my own brother. He’s going with me to NY ComicCon this week & those are memories I’ll have no matter what happens to either of us. I’ll be thinkin about you & your brother on Friday, Ron.

  5. My deepest sympathies are with you and your family at this difficult time. I have a younger brother who has been my best friend since I was 15 months old and I could not imagine losing him. Always remember the great times you shared and he will live on forever. God bless.

  6. Hi,
    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I have a brother that I am also close with that is a comic/figure collector as well. I have fun at XMAS & Birthdays as it is a time to get him figures, neither of us have. He is also into extreme sports as I once watched him snowmobile on a cat-walk between two mountain tops. I am constantly worried I am going to get ‘the call’.  I can’t imagine the hole this must have left in your heart. I’m confident that if I ever lose my brother, that I will know exactly how you feel. Until then, you have my deepest sympathy and you should know that you really aren’t alone in this. My heart is heavy for you. If I can leave you with one parting note, it’s to tell your brother’s life story to as many people as you can, so that he lives on.

  7. Ron,
    Again I am so very sorry. I can’t really imagine what you’re going through. You have all my thoughts and wishes.

  8. Oh wow Ron. I am so very sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. My thoughts and best wishes to you and your family at this difficult time.

  9. Hi Ron,
    Been following your posts for a while now but never commented. Your post about your brother really touched me. My deepest condolences on your loss.

  10. I’ve been checking your site regularly and I’m sorry to hear that. My deepest sympathy goes to you and your family as you struggle through grief and sadness. May he rest in peace.

  11. Ron,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your brother’s passing. You and your bro seem close and having a brother myself who shares my interest in comics, toys and all things geeky, it breaks my heart to hear about your loss. My wife and I send our deepest condolences to you and your family, my AFP brother.

  12. Ron,
    What terrible news. I am so sorry for your family as well as his. You have my most sincere condolences to you all.

  13. que en descanze en paz y dios lo tenga en su gloria, maybe you cant understand me but i dont know how to express that in english

  14. This is really very sad. You gave a very touching and loving tribute and showed the bonding between brothers. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family in these difficult times.
    Your cousin,

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