Today is Tuesday. Today, I went to see my brother Lee at a facility that works with brain injured people. My brother had been there for five years. When he was younger, he used to play guitar and wow could he play. He had a smile that my son seems to have inherited.
Today, I held my brother’s hand and sang and prayed. He was unresponsive for the 2 hours I sat with him. I watched his shallow breathing and I knew his time was close. Paul sees death often as a hospice chaplain, so he told me about the signs. When it seemed like the end was approaching, I squeezed his hand and I said, “Lee, I really love you and I want you to go home and be done with this world.”
He turned his head toward me, gave me one last look and then he was gone. Someone who has never met me in person told me that I was the angel designated to help my brother leave this earth.
There is something sacred even in all the sadness and pain. No one should die alone. I did not let my brother die alone. I am so grateful to have been with him.
Love the people in your life fiercely. Make amends with those you have a grudge against. Life is so unpredictable and precarious. We live in turbulent times and we never know when the people in our lives will slip away from this world.
To my brother, Lee: You were a gifted and sometimes troubled young man who had his life irrevocably changed, but you made others smile and fall in love with you.
Rest in Peace. You will be missed. And when I hear a Van Halen song coming out of the clouds, I’ll know it’s you playing again.