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In Loving Memory

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Edward Scott Schmidt

1968 - 2017

If you were called his friend,

your life was forever changed.

If you were called his family,

your life will never be the same again.

If you never got to meet Scotty,

you will wish you had.

This is me and my older brother, Scott. I believe this picture was taken in early 1989 right after I had my son Tony who was named after both my brothers, Preston Anthony and Edward Scott. Scott always knew how to make me laugh. Scott was born March 15, 1968 and I was born March 19th the following year. He always made such a big deal out of how our birthdays were only 4 days apart and how I was 'almost' just as old as him. And that we were the 'non-twins-twins' of us six siblings. Scott and I were as different as night and day. Scott was loud, popular, he commanded attention, he was an avid sports fan, a movie guru, a music connoisseur, musically talented, educated, owned his own company, and had a memory like an elephant. Me, on the other hand, not so much so. But even with a vast difference in our personalities, Scott and I still found a level at which we bonded. Of course, during the shock of losing him, it felt to me like I had only gotten tiny scraps of time during his life that created sibling memories. The kind you grasp desperately for when you are trying to navigate that very dark space between news of a death and the memorial. I remember losing all time caught in this desperate attempt to find pictures- photographic proof that I had some kind of a good relationship with my older brother. It seemed that everyone else did- people he knew from his youth clear up to days before his death, yet pictures with me were so rare. I felt like I was falling into this deep dark hole of spending this person's entire lifetime knowing them- yet not knowing them at all. And that was a very crushing reality for me, especially being his non-twin-twin. Even at his memorial, seeing all of these people who had shared life with him whether for a season or the long-haul, I felt like they got more of Scott than I was ever able to have for myself. It was such a bitter-sweet time. And those emotions clung on pretty tightly through the texts and Facebook messages that went on for months after his service with people who had known him. At the time, I even found I was building up resentments towards family members and friends who seemed to have closer relationship with him than I had. I just wanted so desperately to know that I mattered to him, too. And being in that head space just about drove me crazy. It kept me from getting to the place I needed to be to find acceptance in what had been, what was, and what would be from that point forward.

Scott and I were the first of us six. I remember glimpses of when we were little, like him leaving us to go off to Kindergarten. It broke my heart that he got to go- and I didn't get to go with him. He was the main brain behind using our toy box lid as a sled to speed down our flight of stairs in the old green house. He was the one that taught us girls how to climb up onto the giant hay bales and jump from one to the next to the next- hopefully not falling down in between. He was the one that taught me how to ride my first bike- his green banana seat bike. He was the one to teach me how to catch a frog, a mouse, a salamander, a caterpillar, abandoned baby birds, even my first fish. He taught me to catch my first foot ball, shoot my first hoop, even how to swing on the branches of the giant Weeping Willow tree without burning the skin off your hands. As we got older, he taught us about the futility of dares. Him and his friend would challenge us to jump off of the cat walk above the pellet piles at Venell Farms and he promised we would become members of the Boys' club. So we jumped in armpit deep, they laughed, and we never did get to be members. He would make us follow him on our bikes to the airport strip and we would ride forever gassing up our bikes when they got low on fuel. He would then take us over to the animal shelter and they would let us see and love on all the unwanted dogs and cats. He even led our band of bikes back and forth on Hwy 99 to Greenberry Store and Tavern where you could get a candy bar or soda pop for next to nothing. When life was uprooted without notice, we moved to Scio and had to start over. Scott would ride bikes with me back and forth on the highway into town, he would walk with me popping hot tar bubbles with our bare feet in the summer sun, he would hang out with me under the Shimanek Bridge to catch a break in the shade, and he would be the first one in the water when we could go swimming in Thomas Creek just behind our house. When we moved back to Corvallis, shortly after he went to live with our dad, we didn't get to see him so much anymore. He kind of had his own life there- and we had our own life with our mom. This was just after the second set of twins was added to the mix- turning our 4 into 6. The things that come to mind mostly during those times are when Scott would come stay and we would stay up late watching Kung Fu Theater, Cowboy and Indian movies, and- of course, football. Scott loved football! He spent time with us during birthdays or holidays but not much that I remember in between. After he got a car, and moved in with our aunt and uncle, we got to see him more since he lived right up the road from us. But he was in high school, busy with his friends, and going through growing pains like we all were.

As I have attempted to navigate this cycle of grief, or rather- been swept along in the strong current of it, I have come to this place of understanding along the way. I had spent so much time searching, looking, wishing for any picture or memory with meaning to materialize, that I failed to give value to the ones that I do have. I am not the first, and most likely will not be the last, to say that my brother was a hard wall to get over. He spent his lifetime trying to protect himself from being hurt, being left, being shattered. The wall he built around himself was mighty and strong. I blamed myself for a long time for not being able to get over it to the other side, or for not being able to break it down. I always felt like I never got to know the real Scott because of it, that it somehow prevented us from having a special bond as siblings. What this cycle of grief has taught me thus far, as I know grief is a life long cycle, is that Scott loved each of us in his own way. That is the Scott that we got to experience- and that we get to keep. Now when I look back at photos that we have together, I see his love for me. I see that special sibling bond that I couldn't see before. With time, I have remembered the closeness and the things that we bonded over. We had private jokes that he would remind me of, even that last time I saw him. He was the one who showed up when I was living with a friend in high school and sat with me for hours to make sure I was safe and doing okay. He was the one who showed up after my first miscarriage and sat with me while I cried. He was the one who showed up- every day, after my son Tony was born. He was the one who tied his first tiny little friendship bracelet on his wrist. He was the one who protected me when he found out the guy I was seeing was flashing a Bowie knife to keep me. He is the one who spent my 21st with me (I still have that Museum mug today). He was the one who showed up when my heart got broken- again, when my marriages fell apart, when I lost more babies, at times when I just couldn't do life. He would bring out a couple of cold brews, crank up some good tunes, and just sit with me. Or we would drive. He is the one who broke down over not being there for me all those years when I needed for him to be. And I got to show up for him when his marriage ended, when his family fell apart, when he had surgeries, when the girls needed graduation dresses and first bras, I sat on bleachers to watch their sporting events, and there are those times he cried in my lap when he thought he was going to lose his mind- or his life... or both. Our very last phone conversation, we were having so much fun catching up, and someone at a gas station asked him about his business graphic on his van. He asked me if he could talk to this guy real quick and he would call me back after. That was our last conversation. For a long time I was even angry about that, about the fact that he never called me back- or that I never called him. But how could we have known that would be our last conversation? What grief has shown me, really shown me, is that I was given 49 years with this wonderful human, my non-twin-twin who was my brother and my friend. We have seen each other at our best... and at our worst. And we still said 'I love you' and we hugged tight- every time. It's kinda funny how things just unravel in a good way given time. Today, if you asked me what my best memory in all of those years with my older brother was, I would say when he hugged me <3. #foreverinmyheartbigbrother #grief #acceptance

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