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SUBJECT: Three Brothers

Submitted by Arpy # 12852 ( from ILLINOIS on

In one month it will be a year since the oldest brother died. He was diagnosed with cancer in December and was gone in June. The younger brothers both thought that he just gave up. When the Doctors told him what was causing the pain in his shoulder and chest he just went home, sat down on the couch and started dying. There was no fight in him. He had always been the more reflective and kindest of the three. He spent his life teaching. He was both an artist and a poet.

The middle brother went with to the Doctors appointments and tried to keep the treatment program in perspective for the family. Discussions were frank, but kind. Emphasis was placed on staying positive and planning for a future.

The oldest brothers wife did the best she could, but the task was just too daunting. She was used to relying on her husband for guidance on big decisions and never learned how to respond in a crisis. Calls to the middle brother to handle the problems and short term medical emergencies were common.

The middle brother had spent a career in law enforcement and was comfortable in handling emergencies. He liked to tell people that he was born without a "panic gene". Nothing rattled him. He used that skill his whole life.

The youngest brother had served 30 years in the military. He was no stranger to crisis either. He was also used to giving orders and expecting immediate compliance. That never worked with the older and middle brothers. So he detached. Visits to the older brother were cut short with problems at work. He was busy. Lots to do. Lots to control. Dealing with the older brother and the illness he suffered resisted control. The youngest brother resorted to the tactics and attitudes that served him in his work. He tried to give orders.

The middle brother had spent a week dealing with Doctor appointments, medical exams, lenghty procedures, and home repair projects for the older brother. The youngest brother called and complained that "someone needed to step up" in dealing with the situation.

The middle brother had finally heard enough. He told the youngest brother what he thought of his attitude, his demeanor, and his conduct during the older brothers illness. He held nothing back. The words he used were the kind that cannot be called back. They were meant to damage and were delivered without regret.

The middle and youngest brother have not spoken since. Two weeks after the last conversation the oldest brother died.
The two remaining brothers didn't speak at the funeral or the wake afterward.

There seems to be a difference between being a family and being related. The former can be a blessing, the latter is just a trick of genetics.

The story continues.

  1. Boatdood #15226 from SOUTH CAROLINA says Something I heard today.
    Sometimes it is OK to elevate the heart above the head.

    I wish I had thought of that little bit of wisdom but it was shared with me by my youngest daughter. Good stuff, I told her.

    Arpy, funny thing is I haven't checked in here for weeks. I hope these brothers realize there is a lot more story to tell. Many years ago my dad told me to remember that no one is more closely related to you than your brother.

  2. Crewmax42 ( from NORTH CAROLINA says Cowardice in the face of mortality
    Middle and Younger are cowards. They are afraid to confront their own mortality so they use the excuse of the death of the older to justify avoiding talking about the loss of their brother. (if it can happen to big brother, it can happen to me, but how can this be if I cross all my t's and dot all my i's???). Watch your women now, they can teach you how to heal. No one knows how to heal like a woman. Observe. Learn. Heal. Live. and, uh... fish.

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