In the beginning were my brothers.
I was the last of four and the only daughter. The youngest of my brothers was four years older than me. He was athletic, smart, and popular. The other two were older still, and growing up, they loomed larger than life. To say I looked up to them would be a gross understatement.
After our parents passed, the line between parent and brother sometimes blurred. No matter what question I asked, they could answer it. At times, I would go to them for their opinion before considering my own.
I remember the four of us sitting together after our mother died, another victim of the disease that runs in our family. We couldn’t help but wonder which one of us would be next.
We found out about eighteen months ago, when one of my oldest brothers was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. He has fought an unflagging fight, but his strength is waning. His doctors are working to make him more comfortable.
He told me last week he hopes this won’t be a long, drawn out thing. I didn’t know how to respond. I don’t want him to be in pain, but neither do I want him to go anywhere. I just stroked his arm as gently as I could.
There have always been my three big brothers. I don’t know how to consider any other way.