Monday, August 1, 2016

Saying Good-Bye

The last two months have been very hard.  The last two weeks even harder.  On July 15, I learned that my older brother, my only sibling, had passed away at age 59.  It was not unexpected.  He had battled stage four renal cancer (metastasized to the spine) for five years.  I remember so clearly the day I found out he had cancer.  It was like someone punched me in the gut.  I went out to the hammock, sat there alone and cried.  Your sibling is you, part of you -- your first friend, your childhood ally (and sometimes enemy), the one who has known you all your life.

In early June, we stopped by my brother's farmhouse in Tennessee.  He lived alone with his dog, Walter, and saw a hospice nurse once a week.  "I don't know if I'll make it until the Fourth of July," he said as we said good-bye at the door.  Three days later, I was on my way back to Tennessee.  He had woken up paralyzed from the chest down due to growth of the tumors.  Even after he was hospitalized in the palliative care unit, he continued to make plans -- I was instructed to bring in his coffee maker, a cart to put by his sink, his laptop, sugar packets, rubber bands, you name it. I was told what to get out of his house -- "You're in charge," he said, then questioned most of my decisions and instructed me in detail via cell phone what tools to pack up and take home to my son.  The big brother until the end.

After two weeks, I came back home.  I had planned to go back to Tennessee the last week of July.  I had the completed paperwork from the veterinarian which would allow Walter to visit him at the hospital already in my car glove compartment.  Then just after midnight on July 15, I got the call.  Even though I knew it would happen, I still felt that it was sudden, unexpected.  I wandered around the house, held Walter's face in my hands and told him how sorry I was that he was now an orphan.  I paid bills, I packed a bag, and I spent the next eight hours alone in the car driving back to Tennessee.  It was the worst drive I've ever had.  As the sun came up on an absolutely gorgeous day, all I could think about was that my brother would never see another sunrise.  That he wouldn't see the beauty of the world again. Even as I thought these things, I still couldn't really believe or understand that my brother was gone.

So good-bye to my brother, my first friend, my childhood co-adventurer and fellow explorer.

On a roadside, somewhere in Germany, around 1961.


  1. So, so sorry for your loss. I lost my youngest sister - she was only 51 and I still cannot believe she is gone even after several years. It doesn't help to say he's not in pain anymore or any of those things but just know that you have my sympathy and prayers.

    God bless you and your family and Walter too.


  2. (((HUG))) So very sorry for your loss, my dear friend. He is now free of pain and rest in peace.

  3. Sorry to hear such sad news. It's hard to go through that. I have been there. May he rest in peace. Prayers for you and the family. Sending you a hug!

  4. Oh My, Lynette... I am so sad to hear this. I know how much that brother meant to you... I know how much you will miss him...God Bless YOU and the family...

    Just keep thinking about all of the great memories you had with him for many years... Keep him alive in your heart and family FOEVER...

    God's Blessings to YOU.

  5. So sorry for your loss. Praying for you.

  6. I'm so sorry to hear that your brother lost his fight with that horrific disease. I'm glad you got to spend time with him before you lost him. So many people lose family and aren't able to have closure, to say goodbye. You're in my thoughts. ((hugs)), Teresa

  7. hello lynette...please accept my condolences for your brother's passing...i know the sense of numbness, anger, my family, my mom passed...then 5 months later my older brother passed, totally unexpected and immediate, from an unknown cerebral aneurysm...he was 48 years two years ago, my younger brother passed...again unexpected and immediate, complete heart blockage...he was 58 years old...our son passed away 5 years now it is my husband and much joy has gone from our lives...we are thankful that we have one another and treasure each are in our thoughts and prayers...sally

  8. I am so very sorry to read about your brother. I can imagine how difficult this post was to write. Thinking of you during this difficult time.

  9. I'm so sorry to read about your loss, Lynette. I hope it all gets easier as time goes on and you're able to remember good times with him with a smile on your face. Sending you a great big hug.


  10. So sorry to hear of your brother's passing. Sending prayers for comfort your way. Glad you have so many good memories together. Life is precious.

  11. So sorry to read your post. A sibling is your tie to the past, someone to share memories with. I hope in the years to come you can look back on your time together with fondness and peace. Hugs to you and Walter x

  12. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear brother. Your deep love for him is evident in your words and in the care you gave him. Blessed be his memory. And may peace be yours as you grieve.

  13. I am so sorry about the loss of your beloved brother. Blessings ♥

  14. Dear Lynette, So sorry to hear about your brother. So sad. I will email you. XX

  15. Tremendously sorry to hear of the loss of your brother!
    Time is the healer so they say....which isn't totally true but numbs it and then you can turn to the wonderful memories of the happy times


  16. Oh my! I was scrolling through my feed and realized that I had not seen this post. My heart goes out to you. I believe there is a mystery in death. Even when it's expected, it's still always unexpected. It's never been *that* person and you never know *that* time, even if in your heart you do know. Your brother is no longer suffering in his earthly body. I pray that God will grant you the peace that passeth all understanding and that He will continue to comfort your heart and mind.


  17. I just now saw this...I am so, so sorry for the loss of your beloved brother. Sending you a big hug.


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