JOHN KENNETH HENDERSON - BORN JUNE 13 1935 - DIED AUGUST 29 2016.
As brothers go, we were not that close. The four years that separated us seemed to place us in different worlds. Grades apart in school - different sets of friends . I was told by my parents that I seemed to resent his coming into the family and actually took a toy rubber hatchet to him as he lay in his crib. Of course, I would rather think that is part of the apocryphal family lore, always good for a laugh at gatherings.
We did not share friends. When he did tag along with me and my friends - which as I recall was something he loved to do - (Isn’t that something common among younger brothers?) we didn’t make him feel particularly comfortable. We were never cruel but we did not encourage him either. I find it interesting that we never spoke of those years. Our lives were parallel, not intertwined.
Except for the four years that Ken spent in the Air Force, he never left Baton Rouge. He worked at various things, among which were managing one of those large merchandise outlets, being a butcher and driving a route truck - which he seemed to like. He used to talk fondly of the people he met as he traveled around the countryside
He married Audrey Bourg and that proved to be the best thing he ever did. They always seemed to me to be terminally happy together. In later years they both suffered from multiple physical problems. He had by-pass heart surgery and back issues while Audrey was a long time diabetic. This resulted in her becoming a double amputee in her last years. In a freakish accident she fell from her power chair and within a short time died. From that point on Ken became depressed and disoriented. When we talked, he could not hide his sadness and sense of loss. I asked him to come and stay with me for a while to get a break from what seemed to me to be a bleak self imposed existence, but he would not.
Recently he began to exhibit signs of dementia. He fell and broke his arm and became unable to care for himself completely.
His passing leaves me as the lone survivor of our immediate family. Our points of contact were few and at times far between but were, nevertheless, essential. I will miss him sorely.
The last time I visited the old country, it felt like I had never been there before. How can this be, I wondered. But that’s as it should be, isn’t it? Time changes everything - and time will be served. If we are wise, we will move on with time. This is the hard work of aging.