My brother has died. My emotions are all over the place.
I am sad he is gone. I am happy he did not suffer long.
It was only this past spring that he began to have problems – his lungs were filling with fluid and had to be drained. Too often. He was diagnosed with Mesothelioma – a result of the years spent in the military, in Vietnam, working on military vehicles insulated with asbestos. Having had a father whose job was installing asbestos insulation. Before the dangers of asbestos were known. When surely the father carried particles of asbestos fibers into our home on his work clothing. But mostly – the job in the military.
He had surgery – removing the lining of the lung and the cavity surrounding it. Which required breaking a rib. Apparently that rib was not shortened enough by the surgeons, and not long after the surgery, it began to protrude into his back, causing pain. Surgery causing pain and weakness. Scar tissue building in the esophagus, causing the need for a feeding tube.
A life changing radically in such a short period of time. He and his wife had been active, riding bikes, geo-caching, hiking in mountains. He buiilt a climbing wall for himself. They had been married for many years, almost always together, loving each other but more importantly, liking each other. Being partners in life as well as friends. The perfect combination.
Distance kept us apart from the time he was a pre-teen through adulthood. We saw each other rarely, and only in recent years were we keeping in touch with each other, because his wife and I exchanged emails. We were not really close as a result, but I loved him and I love his wife. I am sad that she no longer has him – as she said, “the love of my life”. I am happy that they had all those years together, and that during the last weeks of his life they had what she referred to as “good conversations”. I am happy he was at peace at the end, and slipped away quietly.
Emotions. Sadness. Happiness. Reconciling the comflicting feelings. Breathing deeply.