For Anonymous – The Importance of Family

They were standing in the kitchen.
Why is it serious family events
always reveal themselves in our kitchens?
He had a large lump on his neck.
My dad feeling it, for my mom
Agreeing, it seemed awfully big
For a swollen lymph gland
It wasn’t mumps.
Mumps didn’t look like that.
This, the only time I saw
My daddy look scared
Our mom lying face down
On her bed sobbing.

Bad news I heard mom tell
My aunt Alice on the phone
My brother, cancer, he would
Have to go away to get better
Their only hope.
Brett would need surgery.
My parents needed
To be with him
I didn’t realize then
The big long zipper
On my brothers chest
Could have killed him.
How did he get through that?

Driving up in the
Light blue Buick singing
That’s the Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia.
Tim’s favorite song.
Brett would come down to see us,
I think it was the lobby.
We drove the 90 minutes
Back in the dark
Sunday nights; him alone, us
Squeezed into the back seat.
Not knowing really
What was happening
He couldn’t come with us, yet

We other five cared for by
My mom’s sisters, brothers.
Adopted for weeks at a time.
Alice made me eat my vegetables.
She made me stop
Sucking my finger, by my side
At my second first communion
She makes sure a person
Knows they aren’t alone.
Years later when he got sick again
I would look at him
In that hospital bed
Fighting for another day

I understood how scared
At 13 he must have been
I couldn’t bare him
To be alone this time.
He told me how he hated
When he was left alone
Back then because
Five other kids were home
He needed us then
Now he deserves better
Than what we can do
Even when sometimes
The need to help was too much.

His wife always at his side
Until morning came
To adjust his breathing mask
Keeping track of so much
Informing of the details
No one else remembers
In a hospital, but
Shouldn’t they,
Mostly, like Alice, so he knew
He wasn’t alone
We didn’t stop at the lobby
This time, he didn’t come home
I miss my sweet big brother

2 thoughts on “For Anonymous – The Importance of Family

  1. Well, … very touching, your love comes through along with the pain of being a family member, care giver. Many people ” get ” and “deal with” cancer, not just those going through the treatment. Thanks for helping me remember there is a certain kiddo at school I need to find and give some extra TLC to while his sister is getting treatments. Love you all. and am even prouder of my momma than before i read this.

    Like

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