My Brother’s Memorial Service

It has felt like a lifetime since we learned that my brother passed away. At this time, the preliminary cause of death is hypertension and an enlarged heart. My brother was younger than me by two years. We have heart issues – including congestive heart failure on both sides of our family. It has awakened this determination in me to get healthier. Matt was on that journey too. He’d lost 40 pounds by his birthday in April and was still working on it. I was proud of him for focusing on his health & well-being.

Matt Avalos, abby the wonder dog
My very scared of men, dog – meeting my brother for the first time (2011). He crawled to meet her since that was about all she could muster – a small crawl over to him. He was very patient with her.

Something about that has made this harder to take in a way. He was young – too young to die because of a heart issue and high blood pressure. It’s sobering. And mixed in with the grief is a building determination to reduce my own risk factors.

Matt Avalos, Elaina Avalos

We are working our way through our to-do lists so we can focus on my brother, seeing our families, and for me – trying to figure out what my Dad may need, that I can help with.

The memorial is not an expected expense any parent plans on. It’s not something you prepare for – to bury your youngest child – regardless of their age. I created a GoFundMe for my parents to help with the costs. We have about a 6,300.00 need and we’re about halfway there between the GoFundMe and private donations. Another thing you don’t think about when you’re in your 40s – purchasing some additional life insurance to cover burial costs. But I absolutely will be doing that for my mom and me both, as soon as I can. These are things you just don’t think about. It’s overwhelming:

matt avalos, cindy avalos, elaina avalos

We are heading to California and in spite of the circumstances, it’s the first time I’ve been home in far too long. The last long trip was 2014. In 2015 I was there but I think it was only to pick up my mom (who was moving to NC). I am looking forward to seeing my family, being in SoCal, eating real Mexican food :), and being “at home.” I also have a mission to complete on my brother’s behalf. I’ll share that later.

Tonight, I’m working on a photo slide show for Matt’s service. I think I know what song/songs I want to use, but it’s going to be hard to tone down my photo choices. There are so many I love.

Grief is exhausting. But I’m thankful to be moving forward.

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