Once upon a blog…
So what spurred me to blog? I have what I consider to be a fairly close family. As a kid, I had no idea how lucky I was, or how unlucky others were. Of course, you don’t know it at the time. You think you have the worst family ever, no one has it as bad as you. That was me. Till college, till I saw how others were treated by their family. Suddenly, my family was not so bad.
I fought a lot with my brother. He was the oldest, me the youngest. He drove me crazy with his pranks, brute strength, and just plain big brother grossness. We got along sometimes. With 4 kids we could play games as teams. He and I usually were paired together against our sisters. I wonder sometimes how he felt about that. I was nearly 8 years younger than him and probably more a liability than anything else.
One summer morning when I was in elementary school, I realized he was going away for the summer to lifeguard at a camp. I was pretty oblivious to my surroundings as a kid. I have no idea what I was doing but I was not paying attention most of my growing up years. I woke up late, as usual, and I don’t remember how I found out but I remember the shock. He was leaving, today, now. Would I ever see him again? Would he know how much I cared about him?
Suddenly the brother I thought I hated became the most important person in my life for that day. Where was he, did he leave already. I raced outside and he was walking to his car. I don’t know if I told him I loved him. I do remember hugging him fiercely, scared to death that he would not come back. I remember him laughing a little. Surprisingly he did not laugh at me, at least it did not feel that way. I think he was embarrassed, but he hugged me back.
Now, this brother is dying. Everyone dies, nothing special about that. Maybe if there had been some type of major trauma or physical disability in my family earlier this would be easier. Maybe not. Maybe I am just not capable of coping with loss with any kind of dignity. There were some close calls with my dad who has cancer but beat it so far. And one of my sisters who had some very difficult pregnancies that I felt risked her life. But both of those were not absolute…there was the possibility they would be ok, and they were.
Not this time. This time a disease called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) will take him away. Slowly, painfully, bit by bit I will lose my brother and all the hugging in the world won’t keep him here. I feel like that little girl again, ambushed with the terror of losing him. This time, it will happen. Not sure when. Maybe a year, maybe 3 years. If I could I would hug him more fiercely than I did that summer. I would embarrass him again, he would probably laugh a little, but he would hug me back.
This will not define me, but it will change me, hence the name for this blog. I will be transformed. Some parts may come out as a raggedy moth, other parts as a glorious butterfly. But I don’t want to change and I am pretty grumpy about it. This will change my whole family, and make us examine many parts of our lives and our memories and perceptions. It will force us to be different people.