Friday, July 29, 2011

He Ain't Heavy

He's my baby brother.

And although I've felt the urge to protect him over the years, I've never felt it like I did on Wednesday.

On Wednesday he woke up and his dog, Linus, was sick. On Tuesday Linus was fine. Wednesday he was not. So Bryan and his wife, Kerry took him to the vet. And by 2 o'clock that afternoon it was over.

And we were wrecked.

My brother was going through a horrible time in his life when he rescued Linus. He was living in a deep, dark well and struggling with many demons. I was 12 hours away and emotionally unavailable. I had no idea how to help, what to say, how to offer support. But as Bryan grew to love and care for Linus he learned to love and care for himself again. Linus helped bring Bryan back to us.

When I heard Bryan's voice on the phone, telling me it was time, I felt a deep, primal urge to protect him. To run to him, be with him. To make this horrific event stop. Just stop. The only other times I've felt this was with my children. I wanted to do this terrible thing for Bryan. Take this pain from him, somehow make it easier for him.

But I could not. And I knew it.

After, he and Kerry came over. I don't know who needed that more. Them or me. I just know that I was craving their presence in my home. I had to fight every urge I had to start baking cakes, making a pot roast, an apple pie for them. I wanted to wrap them in homey smells. Wrap them in love.

Instead I wrapped my arms around my baby brother and cried a little. Told him what a kind and loving thing he did. What a great thing he did. What a courageous and brave thing he did.

He says he knows it was the right thing, but I wonder, does he? Does he?

 Does he know how kind and wonderful of man he's become? How thoughtful, caring, selfless and insightful of a brother he's grown into?

Does he know that I look at him and think, "He's going to be an amazing father. Look at my children and how they love him. I can't wait to see him look at his own child and fall utterly in love with them."

Does he know that even though I tease him relentlessly about how literal and cerebral he is,  I also know him to be one of the most intelligent, well read, and insightful people I know?

Does he know that although we don't always agree, I always value his opinion?

And that I always, always love him.

 

Dear Linus,

Thank you. Rest in peace, sweet dog. You did wonders for our family.  You'll be remembered with much love and funny stories. You'll be in our hearts forever.