|Bryan, Jeff and Steve Romig circa 1985.|
My “little” brother, Bryan, turned 30 yesterday.
He’s turned out great despite how much his big brother picked on him growing up.
Bryan is literally a rocket scientist with two degrees from Georgia Tech, and he’s married to a great girl, Beth Westeren Romig.
They live in Greenville, SC, with their dog Blue. Bryan works for General Electric, and Beth is veterinarian.
This Sunday, we’ll observe our 17th Father’s Day since our Dad died.
Last week, I was asked to give my elevator speech about Kate’s Club.
Bryan doesn’t know this, but I can’t give this speech without talking about him.
When our dad, Steve Romig, died in February 1996, Bryan was only 13, still a few months away from finishing 8th grade and turning 14.
I still remember the destroyed look in his eyes and the tears running down his 13-year-old face as we left the church from the service to head to the cemetery to bury our dad.
It was a look I saw in my mind a lot the following year after I’d left Bryan and our mom, Sandra, behind the next fall after I moved to Tuscaloosa, AL, to start my freshman year at the University of Alabama.
I worried about him often, knowing we were both struggling with our grief without peers who knew what we had experienced or how to understand us.
Now when I talk about Kate’s Club, I think about Bryan’s four years of high school and how they might have been for him with a network of peers that could have materialized for him if there had been something like Kate’s Club in Columbia, SC in 1996.
So, this week, as I think about my grown-up little brother, and I think about our dad, it drives me to continue to work to grow Kate’s Club, so every child who loses a sibling or a parent in Atlanta can have a place to come to work through their grief with other kids just like them.
Happy Birthday to Bryan, and Happy Father’s Day to Steve.