Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Always in My Heart...
Two years ago today my twin brother died. Cancer, ravenous, irrevocable, incurable. We got the dreaded news of his diagnosis on Mothers Day weekend, in a phone call at 8:30 p.m.--the time he always called, with a joke, news of his two daughters, plans for a get-together. All the stuff of real life. We never expected a death sentence.
But I believe in miracles and prayed for one. A transplant. Some magic experimental drugs. Which, truth to tell, there was one of the latter. (The former was impossible.) But the drug so compromised Mike's quality of life he said, no thanks, after several months of poison and misery.
In those last months, we danced together at niece Katie's wedding, myself in tears. The Beatles' "In My Life." There's nobody who compares to you, I wept into his shoulder.
I love your family like my own, Tonna. That was his special name for me. My son used it until he was about five, never calling me mommy.
With our spouses and closest friends, we did manage one last trip to Palm Springs, one of our favorite places, in July. Oh, the memories! Now, knowing what chemo does to the human body, I can only applaud Mike for his courage in accompanying us. I know now he was in hell much of the time.
Oh, I miss him every day. Every major event of my life, he was at my side. In some way, he still is. I know he was looking down and laughing with joy at Christi's wedding last August. That he sent me his love during those harrowing months of my hubby's chemo. But when the phone rings in the evening, my heart stops, and I wish things were different.
Because that was Mike's time, not some stupid "Unknown" junker that shows up on Caller ID.
I gave a talk at his graveside, and I managed laughter instead of tears. My hubby got up to speak, but just couldn't, awash in emotions. Our best man. Godfather to our son, an incredible uncle, father, husband...one month later, we got the horrific diagnosis of cancer ourselves.
In my life, Mike, there's nobody who compares to you.