It has been a week.
A very long, deep down, tear-filled week for too many reasons.
I could be talking about the world in general – and in that respect – it has been a long week as well. Filled with so much sadness and heartbreaking issues. Friends and family sniping at each other. Posturing this way or that. But this week, the re-emergence of an old virus, locusts returning worse this month than it was earlier this year, earthquakes, continuing pandemic fears, many ethnos deaths, the rioting chaos of the world in general has been somewhat muted for me. Not because they haven’t made an impact – they have. Not because they are aren’t world changing – because they are. But because my heart is shattered in a different way.
My Big Brother (B.b.) pulled his usual stunt and did what older siblings tend to do. They get to go into the world first. He got to be born first – play with cousins first – watch mom and dad really party first – eat 3 layer choc cake first – know a Ferris grandparent first – he even got to go to school first. All of which he did all before I even arrived on this sphere. He got to go to high school – drive a car – go to college – get married – have kids – live in different places – all before I did……
….and I love that about B.b., my big brother.
The first thing I remember is laughing with his face in front of me. He loved teasing me. He took me for bike rides. He put up with me waking him up every morning when I jumped on his bed as I passed through his room. He taught me to read the letters on my Hop-A-Long Cassidy rug. He won several goldfish and stuffed animals for me at the local fair. He stayed home with me more times than I can count while the parents went to their various community obligations. He put up with me at so many of his Boy Scout outings that I was made an honorary Boy Scout by his troop on one of their camping trips. He wasn’t smiling.
The training of an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow was already showing up because he didn’t throttle me…yet.
He wanted to at times. I was not a perfect little sister. I knew how to get him as mad as a hornet. Not many brothers would put up with a sister who opened the bathroom door while he was in the tub – – – with her best friend standing beside her – – – on purpose. What can I say? I was mad at him for something (must have been really important since I can’t remember what it was). He grabbed a towel and chased me out the door and down the street. Both of us got in trouble that time.
He is my B.b., and I love him.
I cried for a week the day he left for college. I was 9. I stuck close to mom as he said, “Goodbye, kid”, and pulled my pony tail. Later, I went up the stairs and lay on his bed until mom made me go to bed, but after mom and dad were in bed, I went back in and curled up on his bed until I fell asleep. It was the first time I knew the loneliness of an only child. I still can smell the blanket that got wet with my tears.
He is my B.b. and role model.
His grades weren’t perfect in high school, praise the Lord, so mine never had to be – in fact – mom came home really angry one time when the high school guidance counselor suggested that maybe he should consider a trade school instead of college. I laughed whenever she told that story. However, he proved everyone wrong by finding his niche in college – President of his fraternity, law school, Army officer, successful lawyer and speaker, married his high school sweetheart, father of two wonderful kids, and as opinionated as our parents.
He is my B.b., and he got to go first again.
I knew he had cancer. I knew he choose not to have treatment just like our mom. I just didn’t think it would happen so fast. He sent me a text a couple weeks back. He had fallen, and he wanted me to know the cancer was progressing. He wrote: “Don’t worry about me. I never thought I’d make it to 100.” He made me laugh again. So I wrote back and told him to quit falling, and how I hated COVID because I could be there if it wasn’t for that. I also told him, I was a little jealous because “he was going to go first again”.
He was going to see mom and dad and all the family before I could.
It was our last “conversation”. I hoped I made him laugh a little just like he always made me laugh with his stories. Tonight is the 7th day of missing him – his singing me to sleep, his voice as we said prayers beside my bed, his hugs, his eyes when he was telling me something serious that I needed to remember, his encompassing love. He was my third parent – and the one I most want to emulate in oh-so-many ways.
He is my B.b. and – dang it – he got to go first again.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” Ecc 3:1