Matt’s MS is hitting critical mass. One more therapy and then we just sit around and wait for his body to completely shut down. And he’ll be 30 on February25.
Leny is living one day at a time. There isn’t any more treatments in his future. Just blood transfusion here and there to make him more comfortable. He’s already lived longer than I supposed he would after the prognosis around Christmas.
Rene, HIV+, has full-blown AIDS and after a weekend of seizures no longer has the capacity to feed himself or offer coherent thought. He repeats like a parrot.
But why should I care?
Matt is only my little brother. My precious, obnoxious, amazing little brother. Already wheel-chair bound and looking at his “last chance” for treatment. Not to get better, just to slow getting worse. But he won’t talk about it and I only know this much because his wife, in a desperate plea for help, sent out a Facebook message 20 minutes ago. He’s been a stranger to me for years as he’s built walls around himself to protect me? us? himself? from the reality of the deterioration. Like I care. All I have ever wanted from him is for him to let me love him. What if he never gives me the chance to tell him. Before it’s too late?
Leny only married my sister, Roxi, when I was 5. I was the flower girl and he was the funniest, loudest, most honest person I had ever met. Bane always reminded me of him. In the good ways. 🙂 I think the first time I ever felt completely accepted, welcomed and securely loved was in one of his hugs. I didn’t have to figure him out. I probably won’t see him again this side of heaven. Have I said everything I wish I had? Could? I could pick up the phone and mumble something ridiculous… Talk sideways and get embarrassed. Does he know how important he’s always been to me? The legacy of “living real” he has left with me which has become an integral part of my character?
When I was a new believer, freshly delivered and still scaring people there was one person who treated me kindly. One man treated me with respect and believed this freedom, so tender and foreign, was genuine. This man spoke up for me, advocated for me. No one in an authority role has ever done that for me. Before or since. I had no idea, before Rene, that I was worth the effort. That investment has saved my life. More than once. I saw Christ in him in a way I had never seen before and that glimpse planted seeds that still bear fruit in my life. It doesn’t matter that he walked away from the Lord, walked headlong into deep sin and hasn’t repented. The fruit is true. But is this the end? Has his opportunity to reconcile with the Lord passed us by? Will I spend eternity without him? A kind, compassionate, creative human being with a depth of empathy that was truly remarkable? At least to a broken, confused and searching 19 year old girl.
And my brother married his daughter and they are struggling through this difficulty trying to keep looking up. And I wsih I could alleviate their suffering or carry it with them or something but we don’t have that relationship either. And that crushes me as well.
When I think of my brothers I am at an impasse. How do you reach out to someone unfamiliar and familiar at the same time who shares DNA but not living? The expectation of intimacy is there but the reality of true relationship is a shadow, a facade, a faintly recognized hope? How?
And I sit here in Central Oregon while they live across the mountains and across the country. No one needs my help, my encouragement, my presence. I just sit here and cry for the fragility of life, the consequences of sin, the impotency of humanity.
So I’ll take myself off to my bed, and tomorrow will start normal and I’ll try to keep functioning… And I’ll pray. I’m sure I’ll say something. But the words will have to be interpreted by a G-d who sees my heart because I’m certain that I will not be able to muster anything more eloquent than, “Dear G-d…Help these ones I love. Help.”