Sometimes when life hands you lemons even lemonade can't be made from the bitter sour lemons no matter how much sugar you add. Turn away now, stop reading, or turn the page if you don't have the will to read about cancer and how it takes a family through a field of emotions that even the best John Deere can't cut through. Mom if you're reading this, maybe it's time to look away.
My brother has cancer.
As of the writing of this column the complete picture isn't clear but what is clear is that there is more than one kind hiding in his body; they must find the original one first before they can treat the one attached to his spine. He's scared, who wouldn't be? Both of our grandmothers fought and lost their battles. Mom's mom had a variety of cancers for years and fought like mad to stay alive and eventually lost her battle; when she was close it was, and is, the only time I've ever sworn at a pastor. When she was near the end the rent-a-pastor, (her normal one wasn't available), tried to reassure me that everything would be ok and I used a F word that wasn't fire truck in my response; to this day I know it was the grief talking and thankfully I haven't seen him again, not since her graveside service.
My Dad's mom died from or related to cancer in the brain, or so I think, I didn't go to her funeral due to just getting off of a 16 hour bus ride; death has a way of following this family. I remember the year after our dad died mom tried to continue the tradition of bringing a fruit basket for Christmas; grandma cried; the loss of her son was still too fresh. My brother Dennis has done some nice things for me over the years from buying me a snack while our father was dying to getting the cross for me our father gave his mother before he died.
I can't pretend to understand all of the emotions that go into such a diagnosis. Being told that my days of basketball were most likely over after I injured my knee and had surgery hurt; being told you have cancer, no comparison. There's life, and there's death, there's debt and other losses. As "little brother," I need to do something to help; that something is to be there, to organize fundraisers, and to support our mother as she has to wait for the results of this test and that test along with the rest of us.
I'm exhausted, I lie awake at night and ask why, why him, why now, why should any parent have to worry about burying a child. The answers don't come but what does come through is my grandmother's voice, singing to me. Grandma's, mom's mom, favorite song, and one she sang to us as kids was "Jesus Loves Me;" I hope my brother Dennis is hearing that now as he prepares for the battle of his life; time to round up the troops and join the fight. My advice from little brother comes from two lines from my favorite poet Dylan Thomas: "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
If you want to help contact me; bands, donations, or just your time, find me on Facebook, call or text me at 906-370-8444 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.