Wait! Oh Wait! My Brother
By Deborah Sexton
"Wait! Oh Wait! My Brother"
©By Deborah Sexton
We used to play together
brothers and sisters do
I loved the time we spent together
and I always loved you
were a special kind of person
a protector of the weak
And in your strength as my hero
you were gentle,kind and sweet
visit here on earth was short
and I often ask God why
with a loving heart
is destined so young to die
wanted so much to die for you
if it meant you could live.
But God had a different plan
and life wasn't mine to give.
I find comfort in this
it gives me peace of mind
Wait! Oh Wait! My Brother
For I trail fast behind!
"I stood in front of the chair where my mom sat crying. She wiped her
tears away with the handkerchief she clutched in her hand. A tall man
stood beside me. I heard his whispered voice, but his words had no
meaning to me. I was only three years old. Later I couldn't find my
Apparently, mom and dad left because Grandma died. My older brothers and sisters were there to care for me.
I listened as the dirt crunched under my shoes then lost the sound as I hurried across the street. Mom never allowed me to leave the yard alone, and I felt confused, afraid and free. That's when I heard her angry voice "No you can't have any blackberries, now get out of my yard." I was standing next to my brother. He's the reason I crossed the street in the first place. Because I couldn't pronounce his name, I called him "Brover" for brother
She came close, leaned down and instructed me to cup my hands. Now they were full of blackberries. I quickly moved across the street where my brother was now standing, trying not to drop any of the berries that were turning my hands dark blue. I reached him and held my hands over his, "here" I told him. That's when I first noticed his big blue sparkling eyes. His lashes long and thick, his sweet smile a little crooked.
I can't think of any memory of my brother before that day though I've tried hard.
weeks before my fifth birthday we moved to another state. This is
where my memories of Gary remain with me. I followed him wherever I
could. Gary was my hero. He was gentle most of the time and very
energetic. I felt the closeness that my loving mom had toward him.
He had a knack for taking things apart to see how they worked, and could put them back together. Once he took apart a small radio that belonged to my parents, but got bored halfway through putting it back together and just left it.
I rode in his red wagon as he pulled it quickly around the yard. I enjoyed the rides although I was toppled onto the ground when He turned too sharply. Once when I told Gary that I liked one of his friends, he held him down so I could kiss him.
In school, he was popular with the girls and often one would spend the night with me on the weekend to be around him. Gary was very nice looking.
There was something about him which made people love him. He really looked up to our older brother, but being older than Gary, working and getting married Don never seemed to have time for him.
Right out of school he joined the Military. Gary experienced many paralyzing and unbearable headaches during his boot camp training. His Sergeant liked him and recommended his emancipation. He returned home due to medical purposes. He was nineteen years old. His headaches stopped entirely after being home for a couple of months. I'm ashamed to say that I silently questioned whether he had ever experienced headaches.
Gary was away from home for four days and returned with the announcement he had gotten married. My mom wasn't too happy about it and asked them both to stay with us. Gary and I were more than brothers and sisters; we were friends. Gary, his wife and I hung around a lot together. He loved to race his Ford up and down the country roads. In our young adult years, we grew even closer.There was no other choice but Gary as best man in our wedding. We didn't know anyone else we wanted more. As we left the church, he pulled my husband, and me to the side. "I don't ever want to hear either of you say anything about a divorce." We assure him, "We won't."
Brenda ran into mom's room, pleading for her to go help Gary. When mom's feet hit the floor she stepped into another time, one of far reaching changes. The next few years were the catalyst of pain and sorrow.
The ambulance came screaming into our yard. Gary lay on the stretcher unconscious his whole body in spasms. The Cat Scan showed a left frontal lobe Aneurysm.
To this day I torture myself with questions of why they didn't do emergency surgery and clip the Aneurysm. He was instead, referred to a doctor who put him on Tegretol an anticonvulsant and analgesic drug, Dilantin another anticonvulsant, and Phenobarbital a narcotic and sedative barbiturate drug. All the medication Gary received was used mostly for Epilepsy sufferers
when Gary asked his doctor what an Aneurysm was, the doctor replied
that "it's all relative." He also informed Gary that "he
treated his patients, he didn't make them better" Though The Cat
Scan showed it to be an Aneurysm, this doctor spoke with us about it
being a Cavernous Hemangioma
Life swallowed me in sadness. Gary's seizures became severer and more, and more frequent. Only when he changed doctors did he realize he had a life threatening medical condition. The doctor told us that according to the Cat Scan; surgery would stop the seizures and any bleeding that could happen otherwise.
Gary had always been energetic and fun to be around. He was six-foot two inches tall and very strong. He tried to be kind to everyone but was also ready to defend those he cared about. I don't remember ever seeing him afraid. His illness and the medication however had taken a toll on him
His new doctor admitted him into the hospital. My heart felt as though it were glowing. I had butterflies in my stomach. Finally, a doctor who would help my brother. A Neuro-vascular Surgeon entered Gary's room to speak with the family. We smiled and felt so much hope as he spoke of the surgery he would do to block the weak vessels in Gary's brain. My brother appeared ebullient and hopeful. My mom and I silently cried letting our tears roll freely down our cheeks. The doctor noticed and announced that before the surgery an MRI would be done so he could get a new view of what he was dealing with. Gary was rolled away to have the MRI. The Surgeon stayed for the results.
We sat in the hospital cafeteria until we felt we had given enough time for the tests. Venturing back to his room we got there at the same time as Gary.
Soon, the doctor entered with one arm across his chest and the other one resting on it. He pinched his lips with his fingers. Mom and I caught each others eyes. Our chests heaved and expelled the air without conscious thought of it. The air was ominous. Foreboding surrounded me, crushing me to the ground. Silence fell.
The doctor's voice permeated the air.
"When I mentioned the surgery I was under the impression we were dealing with a Cavernous Hemangioma, but we're not" his voice stalled "The MRI shows, Gary, that you have a Berry Aneurysm" More silence. "The Aneurysm is found deep in your left frontal lobe within (or was it, too close to?) the Circle of Willis" The room started to spin. Mom looked at me searching for answers, begging to see hope in my face. I gave her nothing. "What this means is that surgery is far too dangerous, because the Aneurysm is too close to the Carotid artery in the brain."
Gary stared into the face of the doctor. "Can anything be done?" These were the only words he spoke. The doctor's words felt bitter, unkind, disparaging. "Live your life to it's fullest Gary."
Oh God, No...NO. .NO! I silently but quickly left trying to restrain the tears that burned in my eyes begging for deliverance.
We never spoke of or to Gary about him dying. Maybe we should have, but we were afraid to say it, fearing our words would bring it about.
The phone rang, and I reached to pick it up. An uneasiness came over me. The voice spoke slowly, painfully, disdainful words that hurt. I set the phone down, overwhelmed with dread.
I'm not sure how I got into my car, but there I was driving, screaming out my brother's name. I sobbed and begged God to let my brother live. "Take me, not him" "Please God take me and let him live" I continued trying to bargain with God. Then I saw my son's little face, and the reason I had to stay. Sadly I surrendered, "Your Will be done"
Gary's brain had bled again, and he was in a deep coma. I sat beside his bed reading scripture aloud, trying to instill faith to take away fear.
On the third day Gary was removed from Life Support. Brenda, his wife, had signed his death warrant. In one hour I stood next to his bed, his still body enveloped in death's shroud. Overtaken in grief I read him the twenty-third Psalm for the last time.
My parents were grief stricken. My mom took his flowers, and personal items home, and placed them in her room. Unable to sleep, she lay, and stared at them. She hated leaving him to "sleep" in the funeral home. She was never the same, and just a few years later my mom died from Lymphoma.
I love you more each day, my Brover
"There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." President Dwight Eisenhower.
"To lose a child is to lose a piece of yourself." Dr. Burton Grebin
I Love You With All My Heart, Brover!
When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him" Euripides
"A simple child. That lightly draws its breath. And feels its life in every limb. What should it know of death?" Wordsworth
"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love." Washington Irving
"The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone" Harriet Beecher Stowe