My cousin David

Besboro Island surrounded by sea ice in the winter, near Shaktoolik Alaska. Photo from

My cousin David and his girlfriend died in a boating accident late summer 2012. I think about David from time to time, and how I should have accepted his last phone call to me, how I should have gone to have a beer with him. How we should have gone to Seattle to watch some baseball games.

Damn you David.

When I was born I had an older brother, but not long after I was born he died in a drowning accident. My older sister was adopted by our grandparents one town over. So it was just me growing up. I got to see my sister every summer and every holiday season. We knew we were siblings, and we loved the time we spent with each other.

And while having a sister is great, I did wonder what it would have been like to have a brother.

After high school, after some college, after some growing up, David became like an older brother to me. We both knew we were cousins, but there was a period when I thought “This must be what it’s like to have an older brother…”. I enjoyed that feeling.

When David would would come to Anchorage either for work or for shopping him and I would meet for dinner or for a beer at least once. And almost always we talked about sports. And almost always it was about the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners, and whichever team we thought would go deep in the NBA that season.

“This must be what it’s like to have an older brother…”.

David came to Anchorage, I don’t remember if it was with work or if he came to town to do some shopping. And I don’t remember if his girlfriend came with him or not. Often people come to Anchorage for work or to do some shopping. Often times for both. A gallon of milk in rural Alaska can cost nearly ten dollars. Here in Anchorage it costs a dollar or two.

He didn’t come here to buy just milk, just a reference of how much food in rural Alaska costs compared to Anchorage.

Maybe he did come here to buy milk. I don’t know.

David called me and I remember we spoke for a few minutes and agreed to meet up on another day.

To this day I still do not know why I ignored his calls and texts. Maybe I thought “he’s like a brother to me, he’ll understand if I just text him a few days later with an excuse that I was busy.”.

Another day never happened. David died.

Damn you David.

Damn you for leaving and taking with you what it felt like to have an older brother.

Damn you for leaving the same way my biological older brother left, by drowning.

And damn me for ignoring your phone calls and texts. I miss you David.