Thursday, February 19, 2015

He Was My Brother

I would arrive home in Kentucky in the late evening of Sunday February 8th with Sheba and Charlie as my traveling companions.
It was a perfect day for traveling and unseasonably warm for February.  
I would get them both settled in and my youngest brother and I were off to the hospital. A heart attack along with complications from a diagnosis given in late December of pulmonary fibrosis gave my brother who was just a little more than a year older than me, very little chance of survival. I would spend a couple of hours at the hospital and leave to get some much needed sleep at the home my two brothers shared. My youngest brother works nights, and I'd just barely gotten to bed when a call from the hospital would come telling me I needed to come back to the hospital right away.  By the time I got there 20 minutes later, they had been able to stabilize my brother. A long day of ups and downs would follow. 
There were numerous calls and text messages to my other two brothers who were making their way to Kentucky while my youngest brother and I both tried to come to grips with the reality we were facing. In the late evening hours of Monday February 9th, my brother John would pass away as my youngest brother and I would stand next to his bed, our arms around one another for both comfort and strength.        

The arrival of my oldest and another younger brother and his wife was a reminder of the importance of family. We would tell stories, laugh and reconnect with one another and share our grief.  A blur of days filled with kindness from family and old friends along with unexpected random acts of kindness from strangers was humbling.

The day of my brother's funeral was cold and gloomy.  I would give my brothers eulogy being reminded of how fragile and short life can be.  And that even though my brother had made his share of mistakes and had bumps and stumbles, he got back up and tried to persevere. I would make the joke that in going through his belongings afterwards, that "I knew more about my brother than any sister ever should ever know about her brother!"

My brother John and I hadn't always gotten along.  We had our share of disagreements. Maybe because we were so different. Maybe because we were so close in age. Maybe because we were siblings. Maybe it was all of those reasons.
My favorite childhood photo of my brother John and me, circa 1965
But I was grateful that in our last conversation a couple of weeks ago I'd told him how much I cared about him because he was my brother and how worried I was about him. After the service, a trip to the cemetery and a blessing of my brother's final resting place next to our parents. The last good-bye.
Finally an indelible image in my mind of the backs of my three brothers in dark suits, slumped shoulders as they slowly walked together and the arm of my oldest brother around the shoulder of our youngest. I felt a wave of gratitude and gave silent thanks for having four good, kind and caring men to call my brothers.

I know this grief and the ache of the loss of my brother John will dull as the days pass and life goes on without him.  But I will always miss him -- Because he was my brother.

53 comments:

  1. oh, i'm so sorry, kim. i am glad you could be there with your youngest brother and glad that your other brothers could join you. bless you all as you grieve this painful loss of one of you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. it's always hard to lose someone close to you. Blessings and prayers to you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so sorry for your loss, 2 people , my neighbor`s husband, & 1 of my best friend`s husband both died of pulmonary fibrosis. It was so unexpected for both of them. Praying for you & your family,phyllis

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh Kim---I am so sorry about the loss of your brother. Family is so special even if at times there are disagreements. I am sure your brother knew you loved him---my thoughts are with you in the days ahead as you miss your loved one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is so difficult Kim. My heart goes out to you and your family. Please know you are all in my prayers.
    Hugs and love,
    Jeanne

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's good that you and your younger brother could be with John at the hospital. May he rest in peace. A very sad time for you and your family. I wish I could have heard your eulogy...I'm sure it was very moving , being delivered by such a sensitive and caring sister.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh! I am so sorry for your loss. Family's are so special. I'm sure your brother knew how much you cared for him. It was good that you could be there for him in his final hours. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Huuuuuuuuugs!! Charlie's Mum, Lynn.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. Nice to have been able to be their by his side and with other family members. Family is very important, especially at times like these.
    Hugs, Ana

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh Kim, I am so sorry for your loss, it was good for you to be there, find some comfort through the heartache. Keeping you in my prayers, Hugs Francine.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kim, I feel that when you told John that your cared about him- it touched his heart.
    I have thought many times about how hard this was on you and your other brothers. I am so glad you were able to spend some time together, and share some memories.. Time together heals...
    Each of our paths is different -- and those paths can take us in so many different directions,, and sometimes we loose sight of how important family is.. I am glad that friends and family circled around you and your brothers at this sad time...
    What you have said Kim,, is beautiful... yes,, he was your brother.
    love
    tweedles

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so sorry for your loss, Kim. It was so nice that you were able to be together with your brothers and hold each other up as you grieve. Your words are lovely and so filled with emotion. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Did any of us have an idea you might be away for other than a few days off? I send caring thoughts to you and your brothers, with hopes that the time together will give you always memories of family love. loving words from you that would be with him at the end, and now home to your other family, Let their love surround you, with some barks, tails wagging, and their presence always showing care and love.Hugs and love, Jean.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm so sorry, Kim. You wrote a beautiful tribute, to John and to your other brothers. Your words are beautiful although I know that your heart aches. Hugs and love to you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wonderful tribute to your brother and to your family. So sorry you have gone through this terribly difficult time. I know you are so glad you could be there for him at the end of his life. We'll be thinking of you as you continue to grieve your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh Kim, I'm so sorry for you families loss. I will keep you and your brothers in my prayers.

    Aroo to you,
    Sully and Robin

    ReplyDelete
  16. You had it easier than it could have been. An unexpected heart attack when you're 2300 miles away is hard and you can't even get to the airport before it happens. You can't say to a corpse what you wanted to say. You got that chance. I don't revel in this, but you got a chance to tell him how you felt. It's very hard. Tears are flowing. We're with you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That was beautiful....sad, but beautiful. So glad you got there in time to be with him and that the rest of the family could be there, too.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm saddened for you and your other brothers and sorry for your loss. Life and time will ease the pain, but never erase the memories.

    Hugs,
    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm so sorry, but I'm glad you and your other brothers could be there.

    ReplyDelete
  20. So, so sorry to hear of your loss... Thinking of you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Kim, I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad you could be there at the end with all your brothers.. Sending my prayers to you and your family..

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's been a tough year Kim old gal
    Hasn't it?
    God bless

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm so sorry for your loss, Kim. I lost my brother 25 years ago and I still miss him so very much. Huge hugs to you ♥

    ReplyDelete
  24. {{{cyber hugs}}} Beautiful Eulogy

    ReplyDelete
  25. I feel your sadness and that of your family. Condolence to everyone. It is so hard to say goodbye. I have been so fortunate in having my parents and my brother live into their 80s and yet saying goodbye was not easy. ((hugs))

    ReplyDelete
  26. I continue to remember you and your family in my thoughts and prayers as you mourn your brother. You are so fortunate to have such fine men as brothers and they are doubly blessed to have such a wonderful woman as you for a sister.

    xo
    Lynn

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a beautiful tribute to your brother. I am so heartbroken for you, and am glad you had your brothers to lean on. Please let us know if there's anything you need, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am so sorry. My condolences to you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Those weeks of 'duty' are exhausting. Hope you now have a chance to recover. Your post is full of tenderness, love and a quiet pride in family .

    ReplyDelete
  30. oh my dear heart. this should have been his eulogy.
    simple truthful heartfelt words of a man understood and loved.
    i have only one brother. the marine. and as you might imagine. if i lost him now i'd be devastated. it's good you have "the backs of your brothers in dark suits" ... what a poignant and moving picture.
    bless you dear one. rest in the love of carl and your crew. more now than ever before. xoxo♥

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you for sharing this with us, Kim ... for reminding us of the importance of family. I am so sorry about your brother.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Kim - I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing - what a beautiful tribute.
    Take care & hugs to you.
    Nadine

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dear Kim, I am very sorry for your loss. I am sure he would love what you wrote today, it would bring comfort to your other brothers to read it also. Families are so complicated and tricky aren't they....We are keeping you in our prayers. Stella Rose and Momma

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh Kim, I am so very sorry about your brother. I am at a loss for words but I send you love and hugs instead xxx

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh Kim . . . there's nothing quite as sobering and draining as the loss of a family member. Your post is a beautiful tribute.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Kim, what a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss. I pray for you to find comfort and peace, sending love and light...

    Edgar and his mum

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am so sorry. As the youngest of 9, I know the loss of the first sibling to leave this plane. Sending quilted hugs of comfort and caring.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I add my condolences along with everyone else's
    glad you were there with him hugs

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh my I am soo sorry for your family's loss . Glad you were able to be with him . I prey you find peace and comfort in the days to come !

    ReplyDelete
  40. What a terrible thing for you to have to go through Kim - I'm so sorry and I send a huge hug over the Atlantic to you. As one with very little family, I have had little loss to deal with, but I would rather have loved and lost than not. The good stuff will be with you forever. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  41. Such sad news, Kim. My thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time.

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'm so very sorry to hear about your brother. I'm glad you got to say goodbye. My brother was only fourteen when he was hit by a drunk driver while riding his bike to a little league game. That was many years ago and I have only recently begun to come to terms with it.

    ReplyDelete
  43. How very sad for you, I'm so sorry :( I'm glad you made it there in time to say goodbye. Wishing you peace and solace...

    ReplyDelete
  44. {{hugs}} to you all and thoughts are with you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  46. my sympathies to you and your family. let your fur companions comfort you and give you solace.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'm so sorry for your loss. You were lucky to spend some time with him and talk to him before he passed.

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  48. So incredibly well written. I was worried when time kept going by with no new posts. I felt you must be going through something serious. I am so sorry for your loss. Way too young. I know it must be especially hard on your younger brother who shared a house with your brother. But, what a wonderful blessing that you all had each other to lean on in this tough time.
    I know you are glad to be back home with Carl and your wonderful babies.
    Hugs,
    Gus' Mom

    ReplyDelete
  49. Kim,
    I'm so sorry for your loss.
    I'm sure it was comforting for your brother to know that you were by his side during his hospital stay. Those places can be very lonely without family and friends.I knew something must have happen for you to be gone so long. We all missed you and please accept my sincere condolences.
    Your blog post is a beautiful tribute to his memory and how much you loved your brother then,today, and always.

    ReplyDelete
  50. We've been thinking of you. I'm so sorry - hugs and love to all of you.

    Monty, Harlow, Aaron and Christine

    ReplyDelete
  51. Kim, I'm so sorry for your loss. Prayers and loving coming your way.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Oh Kim, I am so sorry. What a lovely post you've written about your brother and family. Life definitely is very precious and just too short. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  53. My sincere condolences to you and your family Kim, being able to spend precious last moments with your brother, and sharing your thoughts was indeed a gift.
    May he rest in peace.
    Hugs,
    ~Jo

    ReplyDelete

Speak--I really enjoy your comments! Thanks for stopping by today!!