August 25, 2018

My Brother

I miss my brother – the way he used to be. Last year during Harvey, I left the shelter a few times to go see my brother at the medical center. The whole family and a few Houston friends pitched in to help get him back to Texas after a truly horrible motorcycle accident in Utah.

People shared all kinds of hopeful, encouraging stories – and good information about brain injuries. We passed around the news when he could swallow some food on his own. That took months.

It’s not a happy ending. It’s a waking nightmare because he’s still here but not. Alive but unable to live as he did. And a lot of the time he’s frustrated.

When I see him I feel helpless and heartbroken and what I feel is really small compared to what his wife and kids feel. And the responsibility and work they’ve shouldered.

He has a legendary sense of humor and there is now on his face often the smile and raised eyebrows that once announced the comedy act that followed. When his house got 8 feet of water after Ike he called:

“There’s the good news and the bad news. Bad news: there’s a couple of fish in my living room. Good news: one’s a keeper.”

But now he tries to speak and it often doesn’t work at all.

We don’t know what to do because there is nothing to be done. I come from a family good at doing. Bad at being.

We love him now. We loved him then.

There are all kinds of storms that toss us up on unfamiliar shores.

I’m reminded of something Meg Wheatley says:

“We were together. I forget the rest.”

I try to forget the rest.

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