What Binds Us


My brother, Douglas Leigh Ayers, 50, was a very private man. Diabetic since a boy, he struggled with serious health challenges throughout most of his life. Yet, he never, ever let that hold him back from achieving excellence and pursuing his greatest dreams. And he had big dreams. Always at the top of his class, ever the Eagle Scout, CEO of Koenig & Strey, devoted husband to Lisa, father of four wonderful children, Rose, Preston, Taylor and Elizabeth, Doug was funny, kind, smart, incredibly determined and with a work ethic so strong it even managed to eclipse our Mother’s. He embraced life and kept his chronic medical issues very private, never wanting to worry his friends and family or be a burden to others. Victor over kidney failure and two kidney transplants, a rare and aggressive cancer that he quietly fought over this last year proved impossible to defeat. Always steady and in control, he opened his arms to us on his last day and called us all in, waited to greet each one of us by name, before closing his eyes for the last time. His light is too bright to truly fade. We all carry him now.

What Binds Us

When you were gone

the vigil and your struggle

suddenly done

our gasps and sobs at the truth of it

quiet now too

I found myself on my back

in the lush perfect too green grass

of your backyard

my arms outstretched

fingertips stroking the blades

as I had your eyebrows just before

my Eagle Scout

racing through a crisp tan field

rich with grasshoppers

slipping into the shadow of

Torgeson’s giant pine

scaling branches with the ease

of a grand staircase

our palms so painted with sap no

soap could scrub them clean

swinging off rope festooned trees

into the spring chilled St. Croix

wrapped in snow suits

constructing mighty ice fortresses

stocking snowy ammo

sipping coco

shaking Christmas wrapped boxes

Huckleberry Hound spoons in hand

eating Honey Smacks at the grey speckled Formica table

in a tent at Deer Lake

complaining of Dragonfly bites

painting nail polish on the chigger welts

from our swim in Square Lake

standing on the dock

shaking salt on the leeches

so they would free our skin

drop away and leave us to jump back in

dunk each other


chasing elusive lizards in the stiff Florida grass

Bruce Springsteen music blaring as you hold out tickets for another show

your hand on Dad’s shoulder as he unwraps the framed poster sized photograph of Mohomad Ali

you had signed just for him

a baseball hat on your head

as you sit in the stadium

on your deck smiling with your wife

just there

cell phone nearby

your childen wrapped around your

chest like a shield

their arms like a medal adorning your neck

Taylor, Doug & Elizabeth


About Julie Ayers

Seasoned apocaloptimist, keen admirer of well-placed words, fierce mama bear of extra special children, black belt hugger, and advocate for a fashion rebellion which elevates the most human of hearts to socially acceptable outerwear.

7 responses »

  1. What a beautiful way to sum up the love shared between siblings and a lifetime full of memories. May those memeories strengthen and hold you in the days, weeks and months ahead. Healing thoughts to you and your whole family.


  2. Elegantly said. Words masterfully put together for a member of a family that is truely loved and cherished, just as those who have gone on before him.
    My love to you all.

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