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Guest Column

I recently marked the 28th year since my brother Greg Eccher passed away from cancer at the age of 20. I will remember him as the big brother who was taken from my life much too early. And although he wasn’t perfect, he had compassion for people and for his family.Many natives may remember Greg, as he was a lifelong resident of Glenwood Springs. He had a spirit for Glenwood that was infectious. Greg was one of those big brothers who had a beautiful form on the basketball court and was so cool because he had a red corvette that he let me ride in from time to time. I was the obnoxious little sister who wanted to follow him everywhere. For someone who hasn’t lost a sibling at such a young age, they may never understand the feelings of grief and loss when one should be feeling hope and anticipation of all the good things to come in our future. I was 15 at the time of his death. When he was diagnosed, I never believed he would die. Little sisters never believe their big brothers whom they idolize will leave.During his illness I would make frequent trips to the 7-Eleven to buy him Slurpees. He claimed it was the only thing that would calm his stomach after he had chemo. My other brother Rick and I spent all day with him those summer months trying to ease his pain. We watched Billy Graham on TV and it comforted his mind. My family stood by hopelessly during this time and watched this once strong young man fade away. Rick and I felt a despair that is indescribable. We couldn’t do anything to make it all go away. So we, along with my mom and dad, had to come to grips with the fact that the odds were he was not going to make it. My mom and dad tried to keep our household together in addition to being there for Greg. I don’t know how my mom tended to him all those nights and still made it to work the next morning.After Greg’s passing, the whole town of Glenwood came together in a spirit I have not experienced since. I have only passed thru Glenwood now and again since leaving for college years ago, and I see how much it has grown. My only hope is that its character has not changed. I remember our house afterwards and the tables bursting with food. … You could just feel the love and care that went into every dish … all smelling so wonderful … and the donations and the love … Although I haven’t lived in Glenwood in many years, I live in a small town that looks like Glenwood did 25 years ago. I have also lived in Los Angeles, Denver and Atlanta. Never have I forgotten the true force of a small town and the heart of Glenwood Springs.Every year on the anniversary of his birthday or death, we call each other. We always wonder what he would be doing and where he would live. How many kids would he have? And maybe if he would have lived maybe, just maybe, get one more ride in that red corvette. … Rhonda Coiner is married, lives in Montana and has two young boys ages 8 and 10. She owns a finance company with her husband in addition to writing Christian articles for various publications. She and her family have also appeared on the Christian Broadcasting Network.


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