My brother is moving away. In just five short days he’ll be loading up Nero, my nephew-pug, and on his way to San Diego, California for a new job and a new life with the one he loves. I am so very happy for him. It’s wonderful to see him as happy as he is now. It has been years since I’ve seen him this happy. Still I can’t help but feeling sadness because he won’t be just an hour away anymore.
We are a close knit family. A total of 150 miles separate our parents, my sister, my brother, and me. It is the farthest we’ve ever lived from each other. I am especially close with Keith and Kristina. Ever since my parents brought those twins home I’ve been proud to be their big sister. We all live very different lives but we are all very much alike in so many ways.
We all expected Keith to move away right out of college. It was what he wanted to do. As a journalist he dreamed of working for a large paper. However, his career path kept him in Louisiana. He wound up at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and made a name for himself there, winning numerous awards and having a special assignment nominated for a Pulitzer. Life was good and he was happy. But then came Katrina.
Keith has seen his city destroyed and what remains is a caricature of the New Orleans that once was. He has seen his paper reduced to half the staff and half the size of its pre-Katrina state. He also saw his own five-year relationship fall apart.
He stuck it out as long as he could. In the process he met Rex and fell head over heels in love. Rex happened to live in San Diego. Keith happened to feel that New Orleans was no longer a city he could call home. He applied to the San Diego Union Tribune and they jumped at the chance to get him on board. He’ll be the healthcare and hospitals reporter there – a great position and something he loves to cover.
With Keith in New Orleans it has been so easy to jump in the car and drive down to meet him for dinner or theatre or whatever was going on. It will be so hard not to pick up the phone when something is going on there and make plans to attend with him. Yes, there’s email and cell phones, but it can’t take the place of seeing him in person as often as I’ve been able to over the last few years.
I hugged his neck for the last time yesterday. I don’t know when I’ll get that opportunity again. He’s planning to come out for a couple of LSU games this fall. E and I will visit him as soon as we can afford to.
Tyler and Elyssa are used to having their uncle close by as well. They are going to miss him terribly. When my sister told Tyler that Keith was moving, they were in the car on the way to the clinic for Ty’s weekly chemo. As she explained that they’d be able to visit him in San Diego where there is a Seaworld and a wonderful zoo, she looked back to see tears streaming down Ty’s cheeks as he asked, “And you think any of that matters?’
Even at almost 8 years old, he gets it.
Keith, as you embark on this new phase of your life, I wish you joy and success. You won’t be physically close but you will always remain close to my heart. I love you and I’m so very proud of you. Be safe in your travels and I’ll see you soon.