In Shakespeare love often happens in the context of a tragedy: Hamlet and Ophelia in Hamlet; Romeo and Juliet in the play of the same name; Othello the Moor and Desdemona in Othello; Aaron the Moor and Tamora, Queen of the Goths, in Titus Andronicus. (The last two, in part, are stories of interracial love, which is worthy of a post of its own, how the Bard treated this subject.) Shakespeare’s “love stories” happen in the context of comedy: As You Like it; The Merchant of Venice; and Measure for Measure. Note that many of Shakespeare’s comedies have strong women, including Rosalind in As You Like It, and my favorite, Portia, in The Merchant of Venice. Many of these “comedies” end with weddings.
When I think of our baby brother, I try not to think of his story as a tragedy. He was one of the funniest people I’ve known. When I think of his untimely death – when is death ever on time? – I laugh more than I cry, thinking of things he said, and how he said them. He had the perfect timing like the best comedians.
When my brother proposed to his fiancée, Cynthia Credle, it was both beautiful and funny. He shared this moment with his families, his biological family, and his extended families.
Cynthia makes it into my Hall of Women during this Women’s History Month because she loved my brother, and my brother loved her. For a man, and I’m speaking as a man, to be truly loved by a woman is one of the most precious gifts we receive.
Dying young is tragic. Dying two months before your wedding makes it exponentially tragic. Still, I don’t think of my brother’s life and story as tragic. We shared many great moments, most of them funny because my brother was a comedian at heart, and he had a good heart. His numerous friends can testify to that. And I know that there’s no consolation for us, his families, in his untimely death, but when our brother “shuffled off his mortal coil” and we celebrated his life, because the dead can’t bury the dead, we witnessed how so many people loved him. This brings me happiness, because not only did he know love, but he was loved.
My brother was the best man at my wedding. If you look at the pictures, especially at the Church, he is standing watch like a security guard, his body language saying: anyone trying to stop this union must go through me! I was going to have the honor of being his best man. That’s just how the Waters Brothers roll!
The sad thing is that I won’t ever roll again with my brother on this plane. If there’s a Heaven, I know he’s there, and I know the angels and the heavenly hosts are cracking up at something he’s saying.