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 koshersalaami on March 16, 2017 at 7:51pm

Yes. One can come back.

Comment by Amy Brook Palleson on March 17, 2017 at 6:57am

That picture of your mom makes it seem like she might have had a twinkle to her eyes, and that she smiled a lot at those jokes.  

It's good to write about these things if you feel called to do so; it's also good to allow them to fade out of your mind if for some reason you never find yourself thinking about them.  Life is weird because there's no hard and fast rule for what to do about our wounds and that makes it both confusing as hell and also kind of revelatory, for it inadvertently forces us to know ourselves completely so as to avoid living life as one long continuum of emotional self-sabotage. 

All my best to your brother.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 17, 2017 at 7:21am

Amy Brook,

Yes. Your comment is spot on. We laughed together often.

There was a lot of agony along the way too.

Sometimes I do feel called to write about it, but your distinction about allowing them to fade if you you never find yourself thinking about them is well understood. We (humans) have every reaction possible, none more valid than another.

Thank you for making time right now in a very busy life.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 17, 2017 at 7:44am

Kage Alan,

Hey. Thanks for taking time today. Glad it struck a responsive chord.

Comment by Theodora L'Engle Knight on March 18, 2017 at 7:13pm

shit. lost my comment by forgetting to go to the last page. this is a beautiful piece of writing. moving and funny and it does give hope. what rosi said. and funny. love love love "from the butt". reminds me of my cop brother.  ugly legal shit. i love him and miss him and this reminds me that in boston, you just nevah know.

you know i love delis. so happy for you that you re-united and that you had fun and quick witted mom. and that you got her in to a great place to live where she was popular!!!! and once a month!!

Comment by Theodora L'Engle Knight on March 18, 2017 at 11:05pm

btw, i love the haircut you bought me. very cute.

Comment by Theodora L'Engle Knight on March 18, 2017 at 11:06pm

bought her. bought her.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 19, 2017 at 8:10am

Well thank you Theodora. Glad you enjoyed it, and glad you clarified that I haven't been buying your haircuts. HA !

I think pieces that have to do with family resonate quite differently depending on the reader. I have 5 readers that I know of off site. They all told me it struck them deeply to read this. One wrote that it was making her cry at work so she called to talk about it.

It surprised me. I thought about the post for all of 15 minutes then typed it out in equal time.

You never know.

Comment by Stephen Brassawe on March 21, 2017 at 11:36am

This was beautifully done, a/k/a.

Comment by alsoknownas on March 21, 2017 at 2:05pm

Stephen Brassawe,

I'm glad you found the time to get by here and gratefully accept the compliment.

Thank you.


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