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Lake County Sentinel
37 years ago today my life changed forever, it made me who I am today 
By Tim Shirer
So, 37 years ago at this time I was 14 and eating lunch at the Purple Cow restaurant in Beattyville, Kentucky with my sister Sue who 10 and my brother Tom who was 15. I don't remember what exactly we had for lunch, but I do remember we all had their special "purple ice cream" for dessert. Little did we know it would be my brother's final meal of his life. Just about four hours later our lives changed forever as Tom died when he drown in the spring fed pond on our family's farm.

I guess this anniversary to some might have less and less meaning every year and some people wonder why even bring it up. Well it changed my life and who am forever. When you see your brother die right in front of you it changes you. Unless you have never experienced this, you have no idea. For all my critics, yes, I am an adult now and responsible for what I do and say, but my outlook on life is different than yours because of the things that happened on that day 37 years ago. I look at things differently then you. In some cases, I think I value people more than you do. I don't judge them by how much money they have, I judge them by how they treat me when I meet them and how they treat other people.


I take offense when someone tries to judge how I handle my family financial wise. Or when someone tries to tell me what my dream was and that I failed to better my family by not taking a certain position. Watching my son grow up and not missing a minute of it and trying to guide him the right direction matters the most to me, not money like it obviously matters to you. I saw the pain in my parents face when my brother passed away and the regrets, they both had for different things. I never wanted to have any of those regrets.


90% of the people who knew me 37 years ago accept me now for who I am. But in Wickliffe as in other places you have groups of people who think they are better than you. They judge you and stab you in the back and act like they are nice people when everyone really knows the truth about them. Not one of those people had to deal with something like this as a child. Right or wrong it has made me the person I am today.


I often wonder if Tom was alive today what life would be like. I choose to think positive about it. I like to think if Tom was alive, he would have been a great uncle to Tommy and maybe a father himself.


People don't understand my love of the game of baseball and the Cleveland Indians, I guess it comes from the fact Tom and I played almost every day in the summer and almost never missed an Indians game when they were on TV and often listened on the radio as we fell asleep at night. One thing I will never forget is the night after Tom's funeral, after everyone had left our house. I went out to our front yard where we often played baseball games and I stood with the bat by home plate and realized I would never play a game with Tom again. That hurt a lot.


But today I want to remember my smiling brother, who always protected me. He was a great brother, gone way too soon. 
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @IndiansTim
Posted 08/12/2019 13:23