My Big Brother Still Lives

Julia Heers

Had he lived, he would have been 58. He died a little over two years ago He was my lifetime friend. Probably no one knew me better. Certainly no one knew me longer. I can't walk into a room that doesn't have something he gave me; the giant buffet he loved so much, fills the dining room it sits in. The Chinese jewelry box he brought me from his trip to China. The bronze statue of a beautiful dancing woman by Fayran I think it says. Another bronze woman by the same artist. My beautiful Mobile home by the Sea he and Dad gave me. A photograph of my Mothers adult children gathered from the four corners of the earth by Hally so that we wouldn't lose touch since Mom had died some years before. And no small gathering was it. We camped at his home on the beach for the weekend to a totally catered event. The memories of Hal parties alone could fill a volume.

The real estate deals have been pure Hal Heers Jr. this year. He was such a tycoon. He built a house in 4 hours and 17 minutes once, breaking a worlds record for the fastest house ever built. I felt he was guiding me when I sold Cousin Cheryl a $370,000 duplex on the lagoon overlooking the sea that I rented out the one side for entire payment, so she has her side for free. And her side is 2200 square feet with phenomenal water views of the bird sanctuary in the lagoon. I went to Fallbrook to give an old friend a ride to his sister's home, she is building 36 semi custom homes on 1/2 acre view lots. She showed me the models. We got to the last one and she said, I have slashed $20,000 off the price of this house and I am taking $10,000 more off in the next ad. I have put in upgraded carpet and I am landscaping the entire half acre, something we don't do for anyone. You should buy this house! "Well, that wont do me any good I said. You need to bring that price right back up and give me the down payment. We laughed about that idea for awhile before I left and I thought nothing more about it. The next day she called me and said the company was putting $50,000 in escrow for me. I knew brother Hal was somehow in on this. He was the master of the no down payment deal

I remember one time when we were young he bought a 5 million dollar mansion on Balboa Island . It had its own yacht and dock. Hal offered them 2 � million on the first payment which he would pay in 3 years. The balance was due in 5 years. We partied in that home on weekends for 2 1/2 years and then Hal put it up for sale. He sold it before any payment was due. Phenomenal!

After I moved into my new Fallbrook home, I went to the superintendent's office to report some small repairs and he said "You must be Hal Heers's Sister! You look just like him. He taught me everything I know", he said. "My first job was sweeping the driveways of the new homes in your brother's developments when I was 10 years old. I went on to become his superintendent. I am Brian, the son of Nancy Hudson, Hal's secretary of 30 years. "Hal Heers was a true visionary," he said, "you just don't hear any good ideas anymore. Hal always had a million ideas."

On the anniversary of Hal's death, I ordered flowers for the altar at church, in his memory. The church secretary informed me that they had two sets of flowers for the altar and the theme was pink and white. My flowers should go in the narthex. I responded with " Hal won't want pink and white flowers for his grave where I shall take them after church, could we not do something else? When I got to church I was instantly reminded that Hal and I did in fact have a favorite flower between us. No one alive would know that the purple Iris grew wild all over the reservation where Hal and I spent most of our childhood. We shared that secret forever. There in all its conspicuous glory was the wildest purple iris display you ever saw.

Helen and Gordon Fish contacted me because of Hal's death. She was my mother's first friend in California. Unfortunately Gordon died before I could get to Corona to see him but Helen and I have renewed a friendship that has been asleep for 30 years or more. I am always reminded of the time my mother left her 2nd husband, and came to Southern California. We went to Corona where I was born to Helen Fish's house. It was August 11, 1957. I was 15. I was displaced one more time. The loss was great, it was my birthday, no one cared or knew. I wandered around with my heavy hearted thoughts, I bought a paper. I scanned the paper to see what was happening in the tiny town where I was born and there in the column labeled "15 years ago today" it said a baby girl was born to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Heers . It was one of my first clues that a higher power was watching over me and knew what I needed.

So how can I question his wisdom when he decides Hally had enough pain and that it was time to come home. I'll tell you one thing, death does not look nearly so fearful to me now that my brother is there. I know he will be there to help me through the changes here and then there, as he has all his life. It is his job. He is after all,... my big brother. So don't cry for me gentle people. You see, he never really left me after all.

Jill (He always called me Jill)

Julia Heers

You can send email to Julia at: [email protected]
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anniversary date 01-20-96
date of post 01-25-98

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW