|June 23, 1967 - January 24, 2004|
My brother was a diabetic and a stubborn one at that. The week of his
death, he though he had a cold, a pulled muscle and was extremely tired.
He also had a will and a tremendous amount of strength to endure for the
last couple of days with the pain that is known to NF victims. Terry was
only in the hospital for 15 hours before his death. We only knew what
was wrong for 1 hour before he died. (Although, we still did not understand
what it was.) The medical staff at the hospital in Everett did not know
what they were looking at nor did they think to get a specialist until
it was too late. I believe the only way in which we can honor the survivors
and victims of this debilitating infection is to somehow ensure that medical
professionals are more educated.
Now, about my brother, Terry McCue.
Terry was born in Hays, Kansas on June 23, 1967. Terry was the second child and only boy in our family. Growing up the middle child with only sisters was not always easy for Terry. He let us know believe me! (Ha) However, if any two girls were lucky it was Shannon and I. Growing up, we may not have always got along, but we were always there for each other. Luckily, we had parents that understood the importance of instilling in us the value of one another. They also taught us that for all of our lives, we will be the constant to each other, and we were.
As the first anniversary of his death is quickly approaching, I wanted to remember the qualities about Terry that made him so special to us.
Whether he was taking something apart (usually involved wires, cars, electricity, etc.) or putting it back together, Terry was most interested in WHY something worked not that it actually worked. He was confidant at a tender age that he could actually make our lives easier by wiring our family room to put a phone jack in there. We can all attest to the fact the phone never quite made it, but the evidence of his handiwork is still there. He rebuilt his car and to my parents dismay, theirs as well.
As Terry got older, he would risk life and limb to crawl out of our bedroom windows in snow and ice to stand on a ledge about a 1 ½ feet wide to put Christmas lights on our house, of course, we had the best looking house because of his efforts. He also taught himself to install recess lighting and re-wired the kitchen so my mom could have the kind of lights she wanted. He did yard work for my parents so their backs wouldn’t hurt and mowed the neighbor’s lawn. He went out in what seemed to be arctic temperatures to shovel snow and to push me on the sled. (That last thing took a little convincing.)
Things didn’t come easily to Terry and believe me, he was no saint. He had to work extremely hard to overcome many things in his life. In his teen years and early twenties. He did. He did so in a convincing manner and in a way that made each one of us so proud of him.
Terry had a special bond with each one of us. As his sisters, Shannon and I would tend to get a lot of attention. She being the oldest, and myself being the youngest, we stole some of his thunder. Once in a while, he would protest or act out, but most of the time he let us have our moments of glory and sat back quietly in a corner and watch. Proudly.
He loved to fish with his dad, uncle and friends as well as go on quads, camp in the mountains, Fourth of July fireworks and Barley and Hops. He and his mother would work in the yard together, cook, etc. After he moved to Seattle, the holiday phone bill would be big because one of them would always call to see how to make this dish or that dessert mimicking Julia Childs the whole time.
Terry never won any big awards or trophies, but I would venture to guess that if we could ask him, he would definitely state that his biggest accomplishment was his family. He adored with his whole life his wife and son. Terry would tell me that the 2 best days of his life were the day he got married and the day that Tanner was born. Thankfully, Terry was able to spend a lot of time with Tanner before his death and those memories will be forever with his son.
Terry was a bright light in all of our lives. It has taken me a year to realize that even though he is not with us physically, his light still shines bright and has left an everlasting mark on all of us. We are most thankful for the time we had with Terry. As short as it was, it was beautiful. He travels with us where ever we go and whatever we do.
Thankfully, Terry married one of the best people around. He is smiling down on her as she forges new territory as a single, working mother. Constantly keeping us in the loop with their son and their lives, she makes sure we always are part of their lives. Tanner, their son looks so much like his dad that it makes you stop and take a breath and each time he smiles, we see and feel Terry’s presence.
My heart and life were forever changed last January 24, 2004. I know now, that I am not alone, for even when I feel like I lost him, I feel him closest. God decided that it was his time and that he had bigger, greater work to do from above. He is now our angel to watch over us and he will.
“Only when you drink for the river of silence shall you indeed sing; And when you reach the mountain top, shall you begin to climb; and when the earth shall claim your limbs; then shall you truly dance.” - The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran
I will miss you forever
Copyright © 1997-2003 National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF)
All Rights Reserved.
January 21, 2005