My brother died this morning.
I have been waiting for this particular shoe to drop for so many years, I can’t even tell you. He had severe juvenile diabetes…and he was a chain-smoking alcoholic. He was supposed to die before his 50th birthday, according to all the medical wisdom back in the 60’s, when he was diagnosed. He had his 62nd birthday last month.
My brother was a talented writer of poetry. He had a beautiful singing voice. He loved photography and had a natural artists’ eye for composition. He loved nature. He loved this Sonoran Desert and the mountain islands which soar from its’ lower elevations. He loved to read. He loved music. Special favorites ranged from Willie Nelson to Richard Cleyderman…and everything ever written and/or sung by Dan Fogelberg. He was a good listener and for chosen people, he had no judgments whatsoever.
Unfortunately, he disintegrated into someone almost unrecognizable as my brother…the one with all those beautiful talents.
It wasn’t just the diabetes or the alcoholism. Partly, it was our father’s disapproval of him and his interests from a very early age. My brother was a good baseball player but Dad never really took the time off from work to go watch him play. And then, the diabetes put a stop to such strenuous activities. Again, conventional medical wisdom at the time dictated limiting such physical activities…along with such stringent dietary restrictions that depression was almost a given. And for our father, poetry writing and photography were not for ‘real’ men.
Eventually, all of it together, got the best of him. And I lost my brother. That happened many years ago.
Today was just the performance of the play that we have all been rehearsing for over twenty years now. He would go into a coma and survive it….over and over and over again. We've been, with him, at death's door more times than I can count.
This morning, he died peacefully in his sleep.
I am so relieved and grateful and sad. He is no longer in either mental or physical anguish. He is at peace, I do believe. He did not live the beautiful and full life that the Creator of All Life intended for him.
And that is why I cry.