He was in a wheelchair explaining to me why we couldn’t spend the night in the gazebo.
“Your legs don’t work, but you’re not dead!”
I threw our sleeping bags on his lap and wheeled him out there.
The gazebo was a magical place where all the world was right.
We played and camped out in that gazebo for a few summers– wheelchair and all.
When my brother got sick my world stopped. He was my one constant in a sea of crazy. When he came home from the hospital after a lengthy stay, I would be damned if that wheelchair was going to stop us.
We had childhood magic to find. In a land of chaos, I think this brought us both balance.
We found the magic of childhood, despite the presence of hurricanes.
There were late night Star Wars battle ships with beeping sirens and glowing lights that we passed between our rooms in the hallway.
There were camp-outs in the dining room with the table pushed to the side and a tent smack dab in the middle of the room. There were camp-outs in the gazebo. There were camp-outs in back yards. I think we both found peace with the simpleness of stars.
Chairs became banks, turned backwards of course.
We played the first official video game – a blip on the television screen that bounced from side to side.
We went sailing down hills in winters on an old toboggan found at our grandmother’s house.
We drove snowmobiles once. He even let me drive…until I landed us into the pricker bushes.
We played games for hours upon hours, though I admit I was a sore loser.
There was a tanning contest one summer – who could get the darkest.
He is one of the most resilient people I have ever known personally.
Recently we had a conversation about life. I told him I was proud of him. You know why?
He never let hate win. He took so much on his on shoulders. He has been pounded by life and he never turned to mush – his character is built from what he has endured and what he learned. He is the definition of a ‘Good Man’.
No, he’s not perfect, but come what may, he never gives up.
That doesn’t mean he is a cold soldier marching on. He has felt the short-end of the stick many times in life. He has gotten down and he has cried. He has some really bad days and found himself wondering what to do and had to figure things out. That’s some of what I admire about him.
He has seen the face of death comparable with that of a combat soldier and it has not hardened his heart, but freed him in many ways.
He doesn’t just survive, he thrives.
He is my brother.
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