My brother is dying of Cirrhosis. It came on suddenly last summer. At least we were all surprised by the suddenness of the diagnosis. I’m sure it’s been in development for years. I guess our crazy childhood affected Jimmy more profoundly than I’d realized.
The humor I’ve been latching onto is from my brother’s screwball world. This is the brother who has a larger than life personality, a wonderful smile, and a devilish twinkle in his eye. When I talk family, Jimmy is always the funny one. The one you can count on to find the humor in the moment. Sometimes the humor is entirely inappropriate and sometimes it’s spot on. The stories I could tell. I’d have you rolling under the table in fits of laughter. There is no humor in Cirrhosis though, my memories are what I look to now.
I visited him in March and was surprised by the impact his illness is having on him, both physically and mentally. There were moments though, moments when I saw a flash of the humor that defines my brother. There have also been moments, snippets of time, months even, when I thought we were going to lose him, but somehow he’s managed to hold on. Big as an ox, he’s always been a fighter. I can just imagine him giving his nurses and nursing aides fits. As I write this, he is back in the hospital, but getting well enough to be out soon. He has a place to go when he’s out, a place that will hopefully take care of him and treat him with dignity. I just hope he has the strength to fight the demons that plague him.
From my little corner of Arizona I will be rooting for him, waiting for the next crazy story. The one I can hold onto, remembering fondly when needed.