Last Friday I got a text from my sister in law. It was not unexpected, but still quite alarming; my only brother, six days sort of his 77th birthday, had another fall and was not doing well. Actually I’ve been getting similar calls and texts for the last couple years as he struggled to recuperate from similar open heart by-pass surgery that we both had. Only he had his several years after me and was almost four years older. I’ve had a marvelous recovery but he never fully recovered. In fact, it has been a disheartening downhill slide since that surgery. The surprising thing to me is that he was always so much more active than me well into our senior years.
All weekend long I was reflecting on our growing up years together. We grew up in a family that was poor financially (mom had to fetch our groceries in a kid’s red wagon until we got a car when I was in the second grade) but we were rich in love and security …..and I’d take that tradeoff any day of the week!
I’ve been fondly rekindling a bunch of childhood memories:
The neighborhood camping trip we organized to Coxie’s woods using the same red wagon mom pulled the groceries in to haul our “sleeping bags” and tent that Bud (my brother ) bought with his paper route money
The family camping trips we took in that very same tent because dad didn’t have the money to buy one himself. And the home made sleeping bags mom made of blankets and newspaper so we’d be warm at night
The fresh fish he and my dad caught on those camping trips from our rented wooden row boat. And rowing that boat clear across the lake together to get fresh milk from the dairy. Fried fish over the campfire never tasted so good!
Bud playing on the very first Little League team in our Township, the Green Sox; he was the pitcher and I was the catcher albeit not at the same time because he was older.
Bud moving on to pitch semi-pro baseball during the summers of his college days; Work all day for a painting contractor , grab a fast dinner and then go pitch at night. And he had the most awesome knuckle ball I’ve ever caught…..it was like the ball had the hiccups as soon as it left his hand.
And then there was the 50th wedding celebration we planned together for our parents while we attended a couple NASCAR races in a borrowed Wanderlodge motor home while I was running that division. It seems like yesterday and now my wife and I are only a couple years away from the “Golden One” ourselves. How did that happen?
He worked hard to earn his PhD in psychology at the University of Alabama and spent the rest of his years as “Bama’s” #1 football and basketball fan while he worked tirelessly serving the downtrodden and homeless of Alabama and teaching colleagues around the world how to treat drug addiction. It’s impossible to measure how many have been lifted out of addiction because of his work.
And then the text I got at 2:12 AM Saturday: he didn’t make it through the night. Such finality to a life well lived while loving and serving others;
Fortunately we had a great relationship, no rifts between us. I can’t imagine what I’s be feeling today if that weren’t so.
If you have any rifts between you and you siblings, try to heal them before it’s too late; that last text is Final!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
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