When my children were little, I tried to impress upon them how important they are to each other. I talked to them about how their sibling is the one person that will always know the beginning of their story. In their case, the one other person who will know about the characters that inhabited their lives growing up.
I am thankful that my children seem to have absorbed this lesson. It makes me feel good when I find out how often they talk to one another.
I know that when my Mother was alive that she was gratified when her kids would get together. She was so happy that we could all laugh and kid and talk to one another.
I find that part of my story is going to leave me. My brother is going to die very soon. He is sick and is not going to survive. It brings home the knowledge that our lives can be too short and that we need to make sure that those close know how we feel.
You see, I have been angry with my brother for the last few years. I have not been angry enough that words were exchanged but our communications were certainly not as frequent. It did not help the situation when he told me that he thought I was might be angry with him and he did not contact me to “clear the air.”
In case you are ever in this situation, let me give you a hint. If you know that a person might be mad at you and you don’t try and fix it, do not tell them that you thought that they might be mad but you didn’t do anything. It just makes it worse.
Even though I knew that my brother was going to die, I was still angry with him. I was holding on to my anger. I knew that I should let it go. I decided (perhaps with some prodding) that I had to at least act like I wasn’t angry and go see him.
I will tell you that when I went and it was obvious that there was not much time left for him, I knew that my anger did not make a difference.
This was not a miracle change of heart. I still think that what he did was wrong but in the scope of being right and losing him, the most important thing is that I am going to lose him. And I am so sad about that. He will no longer be my fellow trouble maker at the family dinner table. The brother I could look at and be fairly sure we were thinking the same terrible thoughts. The one I would laugh with when we shouldn’t be laughing.
When I was with him that day, we talked about the neighborhood where we grew up. We talked about neighbors. Since he is older than I am, he remembered different things and people in some cases. He did remember that I had broken the neighbors gazing ball and we did a short synopsis of family stories about him. In other words, we shared part of our joint life story.
After I returned home from that visit, I thought about how my anger with him was not important anymore. The important thinking was that he would be gone and I would miss him.
And part of my story will be forever lost.