My brother was rambunctious. He was wild. Fast, talked a lot and loved his dad. Until one day, he wasn’t. A hospital stay that shouldn’t of happened, a cure that didn’t exist searched out by arrogance, too much of one drug by a crooked doctor and a coma that lasted just long enough to take most if his brain function away.
My brother was strong, deliberate, vulnerable and dependent.
I was too young to really know the difference. Even now, I have flashes of moments I was too young to remember. I see and remember him both ways, but not different.
I grew up in a home where we helped each other, with everything and anything. I think I was about 8 or 9 when I’d support Stephen with my arms, and walk him to the washroom for a shower. Cargiving came to me at a young age. When I was anywhere from 2-5, my mom would always engage me by asking me to get a diaper, shoes, a box of milk for his G-Tube feeds, and anything else I could carry in my little hands.
We went to the hospital a lot. The ambulance could never take his WC, so usually my 10 year old self would push it to the hospital up the street or bring it down to Sickkids on TTC (this was before elevators in stations). People would stare, I would wave, it was lighter without him in it. When I was too young, my mom would leave us both at the hospital, tell me to watch him like a hawk, go home and get it or take a cab if we had the money. We spent Christmases there, Easter’s and other holidays. Christmas was great for him and I as kids, we would get the best gifts while at the hospital. If you knew my brother, you’d know he acts unimpressed at first, but then he puts his hand on the truck and moves it back and forth, or shoves it off his tray and smiles as we pick it up again. I remember hospitals as fun. As I got older, they got a bit more boring, sometimes scary. My mom would always remind us “this too shall pass.”
They say when someone’s been gone for a certain amount of time, you start forget them. I can’t manage to forget. I remember he loved playing in my hair, took naps, could crawl and pull himself up to just about anything, loved being out of his chair, wouldnt smile, until he did, treated me like a real sister, liked music and had no time for those that didn’t have time for him. What a guy eh?!
More people in my life now didn’t know him, than the ones who did. Weird huh? Life is such a shift. I miss him.
Bought my mom a WC yesterday, so I can take her on my long walks on the weekend. As people get older, they don’t always want things that will help them or make them seem weak. My brother put that idea on a bunch of helium balloons and let them go into the sky. As she started wheeling herself around my apt with her feet, I reminded her “this is not for you to wheel yourself around all day, ha” we all laughed. We’ve learned to take help because of him. When we needed it, we’ve taken it, financial, friends, nurses, docters, our Church and each other. That is a lifetime of help. We help others now that we are in a position to do so.
I will always and forever be a sibling.