I am grieving appropriately. I am allowing myself to cry and the tears flow like waterfalls.
My youngest brother Robert left his body a few weeks ago after a year long losing battle with squamous cell skin cancer that went into his arm. The doctors could not save his arm and then within a short few months it appeared in his shoulder, and within months of that surgery it showed up in what was left of the bone of his arm…So, when it made its way to his lungs and showed signs of rapid growth I got worried. It was the fastest growing monster cancer. My brother “Bobby” not Robert to me, fought the good fight until the end. He left behind a devastated wife and two kids who adored him. I was lucky to have had him for a brother and I miss him tremendously. Even though we lived in two different states I knew he was there and he knew that I was here for him whenever he needed me. I have noticed that my grief feels different than when my parents died or when my son died. Bobby was my younger brother so that is a factor too. I guess it feels like he got ripped off big time because he should have had many more years. That is another story to be told later. He was born when I was eight and my oldest brother designated me to be Bobby’s caregiver. I tried my best to be there for him — in all ways.
Bobby was the musician of the family. He was a naturally gifted guitarist and then later fell in love with the bass. Next to his family making music was his life’s passion. A gentle soul…he never judged others and he never talked stink about anyone. He loved to laugh! Even though Bobby was experiencing terrible pain, struggling to breathe and the fear of dying he kept his sense of humor until the end. He cleared the room and then asked Lynette to video him using his cell phone. He had important messages for his family. First he told them to take care of his four-legged son Louie or he would haunt them. Then, he told his son Adrian which day to take out the trash and which day to put the recycling out. He had a few words of wisdom for his daughter Nici about relationships and loving words for his wife. He ended by saying to Lynette “and you, get a new ride!” We all laughed.
I am glad that I got to spend the better part of the last few weeks of Bobby’s life with him. Sometimes I was just there while he napped. We talked about Cory, my son, and his cancer journey and the end of his life. Bobby was in awe of Cory’s wisdom and strength. I was in awe of Bobby’s. We said our good-byes and then we waited for the cancer to claim him. We finished up our “business” and I have no regrets except one…I wish that once we became adults and got married, etc. that we would have spent more time together. Before Steve and I moved away, we only lived between 45 minutes to an hour away at times. Life happens. I get that but we could have made more of an effort than just the holidays. I remember feeling this way when Steve’s sister Annie died. She lived in Oregon and although it was only 4.5 hours away we didn’t see her enough either. I wish I would have thought it through better and seen it as a wake up call to spend more time with my brother. Whenever he was playing somewhere I tried to attend but that was being supportive…not spending time with him. Since his diagnosis we talked on the telephone more and texted too. It should have been more.
So, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one and are feeling like I did about not spending enough time with him or her, you might want to take the time to extend that thought out to the other important people in your life. Who are you not staying in touch with? What members of your family or which of your friends should you be making more effort to spend time with? Don’t set yourself up for regrets later.
I need to go work on my grieving and have a good “waterfall” from my heart and my eyes, so I will say good-bye until next post. Or as we say here in Hawaii, “A hui hou!”