An unexpected event shakes my complacency draft two
My sister-in-law texted me last Saturday. My brother JG underwent surgery for a brain bleed, the result of a fall he took in July. Delayed effects from thus fall are not unusual, and he should be getting out that day. He did, and provided a follow-up email on Monday. JG wrote he has a “large, long scar of stitches on my right skull that is quite ugly and a bit scary.”
He has other concerns with his health—sleep apnea and diabetes—but those are known and controllable. JG isn’t supposed to have trips to the emergency room or unplanned surgeries. He’s definitely not allowed to have blood clots and brain bleeds. I haven’t given permission for his body to fail him so drastically. I am both frightened and irate.
Two other family members, my mother-in-law and a brother-in-law, have fallen and injured themselves this summer. Both lived alone. My BIL moved out of his house; my MIL is investigating retirement communities. They and JG are within five years of one another in age. My brother is at risk, and growing older. He’s not old, and for me never will be. To paraphrase a song lyric, he’s not aging, he’s my brother.
I’m facing questions I never had before. Who is next? My sisters live on opposite coastlines, and my brother is the one who had a health scare. I’m the youngest, but age is irrelevant. It could be any of us, or our spouses. The longer I think about my family, and the ties of birth and blood that connect us, the more fragile life seems.
My husband proposed a trip to see my brother and sister. I’m going back. It isn’t home anymore—I’ve been gone for twenty-eight years—but I need this trip. I have to see how they are and strengthen the bonds we have left. I want to see the people I love, and I don’t plan to squander the chances that remain.
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