Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why Do They Die?

I am at a heartbreaking loss for words but writing is my therapy and my solace.

My dear brother, Stephen Lyon Crohn, age 66, died unexpectedly yesterday. He was an incredible painter, photographer, writer, volunteer for a number of worthy causes yet endured a tremendous set of difficult circumstances in his life that ultimately overwhelmed him. I understand, I think. I already miss his incredible humor and unmatched intelligence (Mensa Member).

I write this through salty tears that have been pouring from my unseeing eyes for hours. It's enough to make me sick of myself but I know I must go through the process. Grief is never easy.

What can I say except goodbye? How can I stumble through these next few days honoring his memory, mourning his loss, and still take one practical step in front of the other? I don't really know.

My brother was, at times, my best friend. Although 14 years older than me, he was ever-present, it seemed, and could always make me laugh and we shared a similar sense of wicked humor.  We were partners in practical jokes and he was wonderful with my children until the dark clouds overcame him sometime at the turn of the 21st century, a milestone for all us baby boomers. Even though I'm on the tail end of the baby boomer curve, we still shared some hippie fun and a common father who was nutty, smart and funny, too.

During my traumatic illness in 1996/97, he was one of the first ones there and tended me, my husband, and my children. It was extremely difficult for him as he was coming off his own wave of losing many friends and loved ones due to the AIDS epidemic.

He earned a bit of his own fame, too, becoming one of the first discovered men who could NOT contract the AIDS virus no matter how many times they hit his blood with the dirty little cells. He volunteered his own living body to science so they could figure out why all his friends were dying and he wasn't. The blood markers of "The Man Who Can't Catch Aids" were used in the first studies to develop treatments to combat AIDS and his appearances on news programs across the world opened a new field of study for many. We even visited his hologram likeness explaining the discovery at EPCOT in Florida.

God, I will miss him. As he aged, he developed physical illnesses that slowed him down considerably. Did he take the best care of himself? No. Did my sister and I urge him over and over again to do so? Of course we did. It didn't help. He died anyway - much too young.

So my brother who knew every Beatles song ever written will join his mother, our father, and partner in Heaven and grace will uplift his aching soul to heal forevermore.

God, I will miss him. I love you, brother. 


  1. What a beautiful and loving tribute to a truly unique person, your brother. I know he'd be proud of it... and you.

  2. My deepest sympathies go to you and your family.


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