My brother, Jeff, passed away on February 22, 2019. It is hard to believe that it has already been two years since his passing. Time really does fly by.
Jeff was my older brother and only sibling. For those who are fortunate enough to have siblings, siblings are the people who sometimes defend and frequently torment you when you are young, the ones who share your oldest memories, and as Jeffrey Kruger observed in his book, “The Sibling Effect“, the only ones you will ever know who are with you through the entire arc of your life. We were no exception. When we were kids, we often got on each other’s nerves, as siblings sometimes do. It didn’t help that he and I were different in a lot of ways. When we use to fight, mom always use to tell us, “you only have each other so you need to get along“. As we got older, we both realized that we actually had more in common than we thought, and the differences that seemed so important when we were kids became less significant.
I truly admired Jeff’s passion with which he lived his life, and if he had lived, I believe he would have had so much more to give and achieve. He always had big ideas and the energy and determination to turn those ideas into reality. To this day, I still can’t figure out how he did it. His candle literally did burn at both ends, and although his light burned bright, it was extinguished all too soon. But, lights like Jeff’s rarely just go out for they often ignite the passions in others to carry it forward: The courageous men and women of the San Francisco Public Defenders office who everyday continue the fight to provide equal justice for all; the MAGIC programs working to reduce youth violence and build community in the Bay View and Fillmore districts of San Francisco; the Adachi Memorial Scholarship at UC Hastings to make legal education accessible to students from adverse backgrounds; the Adachi Project, a media project, that highlights the great work of public defenders; and, of course, our work here at Red String.
For me, what makes Jeff’s passing so much more difficult was the suddenness of it. Although we always knew we had each other’s back and how we felt, for me, there was so much left unsaid, so much left undone. As I look back and think about family and remember Jeff, I am reminded of how fleeting and precious life can be.
Our mom was right, I only had one brother. And I miss him every day.
(To be continued)