Remembering Bill

William Lee Wallace, 1967

My brother, Bill, passed away one week ago. He was 70 years old. 

His passing has hit me very hard emotionally. From the time we found out he was battling cancer until he passed away was only 15 days. I’m still trying to process everything and it’s tough. I’m finding it difficult to gain closure.

Bill, me, and Bob, around 1966

Although Bill was fifteen years older than me, we were close while I was growing up and all through my college years. I have so many great memories with him during that time. He took me tobogganing when I was a little girl and taught me how to ice skate. When I learned how to drive, he taught me how to drive a stick shift in his brand new Mustang.

Dad, Mom, me and Bill at my graduation from Miami University 1985.

When I was getting ready to graduate from college, he bought me a beautiful class ring; a ring I still wear on my right hand today.

Bill was smart, sensitive and really funny. Several people have reached out to me with their own wonderful memories which have been a great comfort to me. My sister-in-law’s sister, Paula, told me she and Bill used to recite lines from the movie, Young Frankenstein, and laugh for hours. My Mom’s best friend, Helen, shared her memories about Bill’s fondness for all-things-chocolate, like Mom’s homemade fudge she would make every year at Christmastime. In order to hide her batches of fudge from Bill, she would hide them in the bottom of our grandmother clock so he wouldn’t find the stash and eat it all before the holiday! 

Bob, me, Bill and the horse named Jack

Later in life though, for reasons too complicated to discuss and quite honestly I don’t understand, he chose to distance himself from our family. Despite my repeated efforts through the years to reach out to him and regain the close relationship we once had, he chose to remain apart. Families are complicated, and ours was no different. There are multiple sides to every story. Oh, how I wish we could have healed the rifts and hurts long ago. All I can be sure of is that I did everything I could to mend those fences.

My other brother and I were stunned to hear from him only a few weeks ago with the news he had stage IV cancer. And right before he passed away I tried to talk him on the phone but unfortunately, he was unresponsive. His partner was kind enough to read all the cards and letters I had sent and he assured me that Bill knew how much I loved him. That is truly some comfort, but still….. my heart hurts. There are many unanswered questions, unresolved feelings and the ultimate, “why?”

Those questions won’t be answered on this side of heaven. So I choose to dwell on the happy memories and fun times we shared earlier in my life. And there were plenty of those happy memories. 

Rest in peace, dear Bill. I loved you then and I love you now. Forever. 

William Lee Wallace, August 6, 1949 – November 18, 2019

If you knew my brother and have any memories you’d like to share, please do so either here or email me privately at moc.omnieylrebmiknull@ylrebmik. Those memories will help with the grieving and healing process and I’d be ever so grateful to hear them. Thank you.

UPDATE: I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your kind comments, prayers, and wishes for the passing of my big brother. I have read and cherished each and every message and I truly feel the love and kindness you are sending my way. Many thanks. My life is so blessed to have friends across the miles like YOU. 

23 Comments
  1. Such a beautiful tribute to your brother and so glad you shared those memories. May you find peace in knowing you have so many special friends that are praying for you and your family.

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. The suddenness of it makes it very hard. You are in my prayers.

  3. Oh, Kimberly. How sad that he drifted away from your family. That makes it so much harder. Hugs to you, my friend.

  4. I admire your honesty – I think being real is so important in grieving. Cherish the memories when he was close and remember that he chose to distance himself. You are in my prayers.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. ((hugs))

  6. Kimberly, thank you for your honest and heartfelt account. Families are complicated groups of people. I used to think that meant “other people’s families”, but I have learned that it applies to my family, too. I’m sorry for the hurts in your family that could not be healed, and I hope that by sharing your story, you might touch someone who needs to reach out to a family member with whom they are estranged. Blessings to you and yours, and may Bill rest in peace.

  7. So sorry Kim…a beautiful tribute.

  8. My prayers go out to you and your family
    Losing a brother is so hard to grasp,,I lost a brother in May and another 15 years ago
    We have to remember memories and it’s alright to shed a tear,,,there always in our hearts,,hugs

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Kimberly, I pray you find peace and be comforted with all the good memories. Remember the good times you had and find joy in laughter with those times. Time will help mend your broken heart. I can’t say it is easy but know in your heart that he loved you and one day you will meet again. Prayers for you and your family as you are going through this tough time.

    Hugs,
    Denise M.

  11. May the good memories help you through this difficult time. He will be in your heart always. Blessed be.

  12. Kim, I will pray for God’s grace on you, your family, and Bill’s friends as you each mourn your loss. Brokenness in families is something we struggle with. It is so very sad.

  13. Kim, I am sorry to hear about your unexpected loss and a true heartache. Knowing you, I am sure you did all you could to mend the fence. Don’t be too hard on yourself at this time of grief. Perhaps in time there is hope you will understand more. Families are extremely complicated, and ours is no different! Just remember, kindness always wins. Sending you prayers and hugs❤️

  14. I am so sorry for your loss. My brother died a year ago and we had a similar relationship. I am left to feel that pain but hope he knows he was loved.

  15. I am so very sorry for your loss and pain. Everyone grieves differently and closure will take it’s sweet time, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Sending you hugs and praying for peace for you.

  16. I’m sooo sorry for your loss.

  17. What a beautiful tribute to your brother, Kimberly. You will see him again, and then the reasons and questions won’t matter. You were always a faithful sister to him and I’m sure he always knew it. Family is family no matter what happens. Period. As hard as this is for your family, it is indeed a beautiful time of year to be called home. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. May you find peace.

  18. Morning Kimberly – thanks for letting me read your lovely tribute to your brother. I can imagine how hard it is to process and make peace with his sudden passing. Your pictures are so special and I pray for their memories to be the ones you cherish. May God hold you extra close as you waiver through this sad time and bring back your hearty smile with joy and peace when you think of William. Much love and blessings to you! Bev Remillard

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss, Kimberly. Hold those good memories close to you and remember them whenever you feel grief. They will always be a comfort to you.

  20. My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Kimberly. I will keep you in my heart and my prayers. I hope you can find comfort in the wonderful memories you have.

  21. Kimberly,
    What a beautiful tribute. Sending you love and prayers at this difficult time.

  22. Sorry to hear of your loss & my thoughts are with you through this difficult time. Take care & hugs from down under.

  23. Very sorry for your loss Kimberly. I can tell how very much you loved him.

Leave a Reply