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.

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Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 2:05pm

Thank you marilyn.

Life's been good for the most part.

Comment by Phyllis on March 16, 2017 at 2:23pm

My family would respond like your brother did, thanks for the laugh. It's amazing how many people don't get along with family, isn't it. I've been cut off since I cut my sisters off, but that's just something I have to adjust to. I'm sorry you missed your Mom but I'm glad you got your brother back.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 2:30pm


 Thanks for reading and commenting.

I did have someone hold the phone to her ear as I was driving and told her I was on the way there to meet my brother.

I was told she said " I knew he'd pull this off."

A little bit later she said," Well that's it. I'm going now."

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 16, 2017 at 3:16pm

I have two brothers - both younger but one very close in age. He and I have not spoken civilly in decades. He had or has - I hope past tense - meth issues. He became a different man and among other crazy things threatened family lives.. Even in his sixties I'm concerned that he is not the brother I grew up with and loved. 

AKA drugs are a scourge. Weve talked and I know you know this. 

I still hope we can reconcile before one of us dies. I'm open to it but (and this is the reason I'm very careful about my online identity), I am very wary. He became crazy violent. 

It pains me though. I loved him very much. He was a brilliant musician, may still be at least a studio rat. sad. Our family was dysfunctional. Why do we have to continue the cycle? 

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 16, 2017 at 3:18pm

Your mom had a sweet face. I'm glad you were there for her. 

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 3:23pm


I'll hope for reconciliation if that's what you desire. Bad personalities are rampant, but when hard drugs are added to the mix things change quickly, and can permanently.

 That isn't some Nancy Reagan "Just say no" comment. I don't think Jeff Sessions has the slightest idea what he is talking about.

But I have yet to know a past user of hard drugs that does not occasionally reminisce about the beauty of them, the dreamy cloud like rapture, the freight train crashing through that just opens you up to so much the rest of the world doesn't understand because they were not reckless enough to have changed their brain chemistry forever.

Their call though.It's not like it's a secret and they hadn't heard.

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 16, 2017 at 3:31pm

 I know. some people cam do drugs, drink, party and its an amusement and they continue on with their lives.

But some people get lost. 

Comment by koshersalaami on March 16, 2017 at 6:50pm

You can come back. I know that because of where I am right now. My nephew was clean for a year.

But during? You can't. A chemically altered sibling is not a normal case - the alteration is responsible for too much. 

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 16, 2017 at 7:00pm

Meth is a little different. its hate on steroids worse than crack. Pure evil shit. 

It made a dent in him. 

Comment by alsoknownas on March 16, 2017 at 7:09pm

To be clear k/s: you meant "one" can come back.

I don't want anyone to think you are speaking to me.


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