Saturday, February 16, 2008
My younger brother is a Viet Nam vet and this week it seems, he will be taking his leave of this life via agent orange. I knew this was coming, when he was diagnosed with his cancer a year ago, he thought the treatment was butchery and decided to go an herbal route his wife prefers. He has been strong and done his work of clearing and caring for his off-the-grid solar-powered, self-water-collected homestead in the mountains near Snowflake Arizona. I talked to him this morning and he sounds as strong and cheerful as ever in his hospital bed in a VA hospital 200 miles from his land. I had a hard time connecting this deep hearty voice with his encroaching death. He tells me matter of factly that his organs should start failing soon as he is not going to have anything more done to give him a few hours or days. I have moved back and forth between this was coming and they made this unmedical choice, to deep sadness and tears and memories of childhood. The thing that bothered my aging mother more than anything was losing her siblings and one by one they died until she was the last. I am the oldest and have already lost 2, 3 if you count the one that was kept a secret from us until we were nearly grown, but I have no memory of her at all. She certainly counted to our parents, but we were unaware. I am not even sure if our lives overlapped a bit. My Dh is really fond of Bob, so today is very hard for him, too. I had put that in past tense, but it isn't past tense yet. Everytime the phone rings today I think it is past tense. All I have done today is knit and weep silently. It may be time to knit again. He was still working his land last week, and is not in pain right now. Did you know that unitl they start amputating your body parts, you aren't 100% disabled from agent orange? That is my other news of the day.