When I was born, there were two older brothers to greet me. They were 6 (G) and 9 (U) years older, so my sibling relations were different than those of many others. I wasn’t a threat. I was a girl, and I was cute, and when I got a little older, I was singled out for torture, but it was more psychological, not the physical torment I have heard about friends dealing with in siblings closer in age. There were tricks, like cutting boxes out of the TV Guide to make it look like Sesame Street was airing in the evening. Making me try Muenster cheese (my horror) if I wanted a yummy cherry drop candy, or, if I wanted to listen to a song, it was withheld until I completed some unpleasant task. Nothing permanently scarring!
You can see, then, that I had it pretty easy as a younger sister. My older brother, U, had great and fun ideas for outings, like rain walks. And he would come back from his illicit nighttime forays into the woods with treasures for me. There were metal sculptures he and his friends made out of scrap metal mined from suburban lawns, which bore metal signs demarcating gas lines underground. They “collected” the signs, heated them in a bonfire, and called the results “globules.” I was given one, and cherished it. I had no idea it was made of stolen material by teens, who may or may not have been chemically altered. All of that awareness came later. I had a globule, and that was cool.
I was about 7 or 8 when U left the house for good. He struck out, first rebelliously, and then, more sensibly. He moved across the country for a number of years. We weren’t in close contact all the time. It was hard for him to stop seeing me as a kid. Took a while for him to realize I’d finished school and had a job. We were, simply, kind of distant.
Things took a turn again when he and his wife and their kid returned closer to the family fold. (Honestly, I never would have guessed that of the three kids in our family, me, the youngest daughter, would wind up living farther from my family than anyone else.)
U and I get in touch when we’re in town and wanting to get together. We love his family, their dog won us over to dogs when they stayed with us last summer. But we still don’t talk a lot. Life. Busy.
Then I got sick. Getting sick can affect a lot of people around you. Some in ways you’d rather not deal with (no comment), and yet some in surprising new and great ways.
I knew U was following my blog, was getting updates from my folks, but, especially lately, I’ve felt some urgency in his communication. He texted to see when we could talk, and I could tell there was something he really wanted to talk about.
It’s been a busy, weird week, but this morning, after a long time outside with my friend and his dog, chilling, I came home and got in bed. I had some chills. They later turned out to be seizures. But before I called my nurse to tell about this… I felt I needed to talk to U.
I don’t think we’d ever talked for such a long time. But even after all these years and these conversations, today’s is one I will remember for a long time.
I could tell that he’s been reading up here on the blog, and on social media. But what I didn’t realize is, that’s not all. He’s been reading everything he can get his hands on – about immunotherapy, drugs in development, the latest trends.
Not only that – he’s been paying attention to everything I’ve been writing about and mentioning, and he wanted to correlate something my eye doctor told me weeks ago – that I seemed to have a droopy eyelid – with the rest of the symptoms we now know as being cancer.
I was floored that I hadn’t thought of the connection before. I was floored that he had made it. He’s not an MD, doesn’t even play one on TV. And yet – out of love and concern and the need to do something while his sister goes through this – he found something valuable, important, crucial, which none of my doctors so far have done.
I am bowled over anew, every day, by the way love circulates in my life. Thank you, my brother, for being the latest shining example.