About the same time I am typing this, 7 years ago today, I received a call that mom was in the hospital in a great deal of pain.

I had recently taken over her finances at her request, to the consternation and complaints from some other relatives who claimed they were "helping" her. They were helping themselves to her money. She had me take over as her Power Of Attorney and she began to save each month instead of being penniless. I moved her into a very nice facility where she was delighted to be recognized as intelligent, conversational and funny. She was 88 at that point.

The call was from one of those relatives who had lost their clout, telling me I needn't come up. "It's fine. She just likes to complain." I thought about that for 15 minutes, then dashed home from work, grabbed a bag and drove the 125 miles in about 80 minutes. On the way I called my brother.

He and I had only spoken once in twenty years. There had been a big "thing" and we lost contact on purpose. I told him I was on the way to see her and asked if he thought we would be okay together for her. He said " Yes, of course. Meet you there. What kind of car do you drive?"

She had kept at me for 20 years. She wanted to see us together. She told me he had changed and that I should give him another chance.

I refused to her continual chagrin.

I screeched to a stop, plugged a meter and ran to the emergency room where she was. I was stopped at the curtain. She had succumbed to an aortic aneurysm 5 minutes before I got there. I stepped behind the curtain, seeing relatives. There stood my brother. I could have been there for her last 10 minutes had I not listened to the relative that told me to stay away.

We all stood around looking at her for awhile. Then I moved over to my brother, put my hand on his shoulder and realized we were 20 years and 5 minutes late.

I asked him to step outside. We walked to an area where the ambulances arrived.

" Well...Here we are. I want to tell you something" I said.

"Ok. What?" he replied.

" You are a total fuck up." I informed him.

He looked shocked.

" But so am I." admitting so in what I hoped was perfect timing. We made an agreement then. I made the offer. I wanted to know him still. I had tried not to care about him for 20 years believing that indifference, not hate was the opposite of love. I never was able to pull it off. I always cared but had just said I didn't.

 The agreement was that we would try to rekindle our brotherly love but would never speak again of what pulled us apart.

He agreed that he wanted to try and so for six and a half years we have sent holiday cards and exchanged an occasional email.

Then he moved back to this city a couple of years ago and immediately had two life threatening episodes which required surgeries and hospital stays. He woke up from a surgery to see me standing there again. He stammered that he couldn't believe I was there.

We're getting together once a month now.

We choose a deli style place that serves alcohol. I never drink with clients or in the middle of the day except once per month now I have a drink at lunch with him. He gets there half an hour early, finds a booth and has a warm up drink.Then we both order a Bloody Mary and make each other laugh like we used to do.

Brothers back each other up when it's not reasonable and they fight when it isn't necessary. They put on blinders about each other and can assume they understand when they don't. It's the nature of the beast.


Mom was quick witted and loved a good play on words. I'd call her and read pages of jokes to her when her eyesight had failed. Actually looking back I think her eyesight was good enough but she liked my delivery.

If I have any sense of humor I got it from her and my brother. He can be so funny sometimes it makes my sides hurt.


He had another severe episode about a week ago. It scared me. It sounded like more of what had nearly killed him two summers past.

He sent me an alarming text.

Him: "I'm in an emergency room with a lot of gastro-intestinal bleeding again. Damn"

Me:   "Oh no!  Where?"

Him: "From the butt."



The photo is of my mom in her last week of life, proudly displaying the new haircut I bought her.

Views: 339

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 16, 2017 at 10:50am

@ rosi   what aka said   :)

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 10:50am


As much as I disdain shunning it is part of how some families work/don't work.

I am unable to this day to have anything to do with the relatives who harmed my mom, but am much better with that than I ever was with trying to forget my brother.

Thank you.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 16, 2017 at 10:54am

jmac apparently hasn't yet benefited from the Alt-Family Ideology where, in fact, you can (and must) choose your siblings. 

I hope, one day, he may.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 11:04am

nerd cred,

Thanks for the reading and well wishes. They sent him home the same night which terrified me but I stayed in touch with my niece who kept the phone nearby. He figured it was going to kill him but since it didn't we're going to have another Bloody Mary in a couple of weeks.

Comment by Maui Surfer on March 16, 2017 at 11:10am

You are a great son. 

"It's the nature of the beast."

That we can be slaves to the most base behaviors often observed in so called lesser mammals speaks for itself. I'm far far far from a Bible Thumper but Cain and Able are in Chapter 1 for a reason ...

Best to you and yours.

Comment by Rosigami on March 16, 2017 at 11:17am

@ alsoknownas and Jon, I appreciate the thoughts very much.

alsoknownas, thanks again for your honesty and willingness to share this.

I have no regrets about the lack of relationship with my sister, who died a number of years ago. No sense in wanting something that was never there in the first place. But I'm very gad I was able to repair the damaged relationship between me and my mother. We were out of touch for maybe 2 years. Perhaps my kids will be able to do the same.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 12:06pm


That indeed is a good thing and often not the fate for many. To be grateful is understood.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 12:09pm

Maui Surfer,

Much thanks for the compliment and consideration to the intent of the post.

Spring is nearly upon us (albeit the sunlight through my window view of the creek below is a treat not being felt yet in other parts of the country) and with it comes the tug for renewal.

I like your Cain and Able reference. The problem goes back quite some time doesn't it?

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 12:11pm


Missed you up there. You are correct to the extent that one cannot choose siblings.

It's our choice to choose reactions however and in that we either move forward or get stuck in the mud.

Comment by marilyn sands on March 16, 2017 at 1:42pm

Easy to follow your story - hard to have lived it...I know. R&L


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