Doing the Heavy Lifting

Doing the Heavy Lifting

Death is never easy. The death of a parent even less so.

When my mother passed away in August, my focus was on logistics. I had to make arrangements to drive from Dothan, Alabama, to Miami (580 miles), stay at a hotel, and factor in picking up AND dropping off my kids along the way. My priorities were internal and as a natural problem solver, the overall task was not very hard.

All the details, however, regarding the viewing, memorial Mass, and burial were handled by my brother. As a function of him living in Miami, it made sense for him to grab those tasks by the reigns and manage them. What I didn’t anticipate, though, are the countless hours he’s spent in post-burial administration.

We decided to sell my mother’s house and property, and given my mother had established a trust, the specifics of that real estate deal needed to flow through the trust. As did the coordination of beneficiary payments for the few financial holdings my mother possessed. Long story short, it’s been a ton of paperwork, an avalanche of phone calls, and miles and miles of driving to and fro for my big bro.

It’s easy to sit here one state away (although given Florida’s length, it may as well be four states away) and respond to an email on occasion and perhaps field a phone call from an attorney. What is insanely difficult is balancing a full-time job, a household that includes a high-schooler and college student, and Miami traffic while trying to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s of this administrative endeavor.

It’s insane and unfair.

Yet through it all, my brother has not complained and has really stepped up to resolve all the issues along the way. He’s been so on top of this the only word that comes to mind is heroic.

My brother turned fifty this year and our relationship over the past decade was weakened by distance, complacency, and a lot of thick-headedness (mostly mine). However, my mom’s passing has brought us closer, and I feel blessed to feel the admiration I do for my brother. It motivates me to be better ands more intentional with the guy who was my best friend growing up.


God renews us with His love, and I am so glad he’s given us an opportunity to renew our relationship together. Thank you for all you’ve done. Thank you for all you do. And thank you for being my big brother. I love you.



I know I’ve written before about my brothers, but I need to take a moment to share my thoughts about a man who has been everything from a friend to a counselor to a teacher to a sophomoric counterpart.

I’m spending this weekend in Hahira, Georgia, with my friend (and brother) Jeff Smith. While his wife Lindsey and my wife Lee take part in a women’s retreat at their house, he and I have been banished relegated to the cozy confines of “Nanna’s House,” Lindsey’s grandmother’s house in Cecil, Georgia.

We have the four-wheelers, a fridge full of beer and a whole lot of nothing to do. And truth be told, it’s nice to have this downtime where we can just sit back, catch up on everything, and sip a cold one (or six) to our heart’s content. With the exception of a couple of to-do items in support of the ladies and their retreat, Jeff and I have had the weekend to ourselves.

And I find it invaluable to be able to strengthen the steel-like bond he and I share. Along with my other friend Jeff (Wilson), I am never lacking in terms of strong, solid men of Christ to whom I can turn when I need help.

So thank you, Jeff Smith, for being my brother and for helping make me a better man in the process.


A Man and His Hound

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”
– Psalm 133:1 (NASB)