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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

My Brother

December was a very sad month for my family. My dear brother, Bill, died on the 30th of December of congestive heart failure due to Parkinson's dementia. I have written about the onset of his illness. Looking back over my posts in 2014 I am surprised to discover that I did not blog anything about my visit with Bill in April. I had not idea it would be the last time I saw him.

He was living in a nursing home in Raleigh, North Carolina, near his wonderful only son and wonderful daughter-in-law. They picked me up at the airport and I was welcomed with open arms.

When I saw my brother the next morning, he was greatly changed from the athletic 6 foot three inch 'big' brother he had been when I last saw him 20 months earlier. Bill had always stood straight and tall. When I saw him for the first time in the nursing home I was taken aback to see him hunched over on a sofa like a very old man.

He knew me right away and with a little prodding straightened up and was ready for a visit. I had been well prepared for his disorientation and confusion about where he was and what he was doing there. Since his collapse several months before his mind had become seriously re-wired. For example, as we walked along the corridor together he explained to me that this was the railroad station and we were walking along the track. Walking to his room later, he pointed out that several of the rooms were the offices of the CEO of his company. However, he was able to come back with me to his son's home where we enjoyed a barbecue and sat outside in perfect Raleigh spring weather -- no bugs and no extreme heat!

In November Bill had a fall and broke his hip. The prognosis was that we would be wheelchair bound -- probably permanently. In early December my two sisters were able to visit him for the first time and they had a lovely visit, which Bill and they very much enjoyed. His son told me that it was soon after that that he began to fail. He called me on Boxing Day, December 26, to say that his father had become very lethargic on Christmas Day and that his Doctor said to prepare for the end -- probably that night. They were surprised he managed a few days more. He was only 64...

The same day, my mother, suffering from old age dementia and very very confused, was moved from her nursing home to a new place 10 minutes away from my youngest sister. Life throws up such sudden unexpected changes. From one day to the next the world can turn upside down and turmoil reign. But when I stop to examine my life and my family, I see how fortunate I am that we are so loving and kind and caring toward each other and that is truly a great deal in this life.



29 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear that. He looked like a nice man.

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    1. He was a very nice man -- and one with many secrets!

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  2. My condolences on the loss of your brother. I hope a lifetime of good memories with him can alleviate some of the pain. Take care.

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    1. We have lovely memories of him, indeed! Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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  3. A lovely post. Sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you so much, Joeh. Much appreciated.

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  4. It is amazing how quickly one's world can be turned upside down. I am so sorry to hear of Bill's demise at such a young age. I am grateful for every day I have with each family member and thank you for the reminder not to take anything for granted.

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    1. You are so right, DJan. In our heads we know that change is inevitable -- but our hearts are a different matter!

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  5. I'm so sorry. Families are very precious.

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  6. So very sorry to hear your brother has died so young. I hope your many happy memories will help to comfort you all in the days to come. Thinking of you.

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    1. I am so lucky to have so many happy memories... And so many things have come back to me that I've not thought of for years. Many thanks...

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  7. So sorry to hear about your loss. How fortunate that you were able to visit with him before his health took a downturn. My father-in-law died of complications from dementia and it was a emotional journey for my husband and his family. This piece is a lovely tribute to your brother and your family.

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    1. I am so grateful that I saw him last Spring. It was a wonderful visit and my brother was still the loving self that I had always known...

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  8. My sympathy to you and your family on the loss of Bill. Dementia is such a tragic condition, and for the family they have to accept the loss twice.

    I hope that the wonderful memories you all have of Bill will sustain you during this difficult time.

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    1. Thank you so much, Gaynor. There are many happy memories we have not only for ourselves, but to share with each other and this really helps a lot.

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  9. Sad to hear about your brother. How fragile our lives, how incoherent events can throw us off our balance!

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    1. Life is a very fine balance, isn't it, Rosaria.

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  10. I, too, am sorry for your loss.
    Your last sentence sums everything up quite nicely.
    I can easily apply it here.
    Thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much for your very kind comment, Skip. We are both very fortunate people...

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  11. There's nothing I can add that is different from what other people have said, usually much more eloquently than I could. Skip's words, in particular, echo my thoughts.

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    1. Thank you, BP. Your kind thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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  12. I am so sorry for your loss of this lovely man. Thinking of you, and hoping that the clearly beautiful memories will help. Hope your mother settles too. Jx

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  13. Hello,

    This such very sad news. We are so sorry and trust that the love of your family will sustain through what are bound to be dark days ahead.

    It us so true that life can be turned upside down for good or bad in an instant. One must take the good opportunities as they arise and give thanks for them as you clearly do. For, tomorrow.....who knows.

    That is such a happy image which you share with us. Treasure that memory.

    Thank you for the kind message which you have left for us. We wish you and your family every joy, peace and success in the coming year.

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    1. I am so fortunate to have two wonderful sisters with whom I have always been very close. Thank you for your lovely message -- kind thoughts are so very important at this time.

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  14. I am so sorry to hear thins, so sorry for your loss, so sorry this happened to him at such a young age. The love in your family will help you all.

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!