Family, Grief, Mom


NOTE: This post was migrated on 9/29/21 from my substack after getting all of my blog moved to a secure host. If you are confused about why I wrote on substack for awhile, get your primer about my site being hacked and the ensuing chaos HERE.

P.S. If this showed up in your RSS feed reader can you email me ( and let me know? I’m not sure how moving this stuff over and back-dating it effects things like my RSS feed. If all of these back-dated posts show up in people’s feeds I want to make sure I add them slowly!

My brother goes home today and I don’t want him to leave.

I mean, obviously I know he has to. His family misses him. His work will be much easier from his office. It’s expensive to live out of a hotel. HE DOES NOT LIVE HERE. But man, I wish he could stay forever.

My brother and I have timed all of our parental health needs perfectly so that one of us was able to take up the brunt of the work any time our parents have needed us in our adulthood. My brother basically moved to Nashville in 2002 when Mom had her aneurysm and spent 5 weeks in ICU at Vanderbilt. Then he moved in with Mom as she was recuperating to help her out. He basically lived in Knoxville (in our freezing childhood home) the whole time my Dad was in hospice care while I just came to town every few days. I had kids that needed caring for during both of those times and so it was much easier for him to be the lead. This time? It was finally my turn. When Mom had her wreck? It was easier for me to help because my kids were grown and his were small. I had just lost my job. Six months back and forth to Knoxville was no problem for me. And then when it was time to move Mom somewhere? She came here for the same reasons.

But no matter what, no matter who took the lead, we remained close and on each other’s teams. And when it was serious? We were always there together. I probably talked to my brother on the phone more the last 10 months than I spoke to anyone else that didn’t live in my home. We spoke several times a week as he let me work through the emotions and the stress and the frustrations of taking care of Mom. He never judged me.

And then…in the end…he was there for all of it. For 4 days we lived together in my Mom’s condo, sleeping (I use that term loosely) on either end of her recliner couch while she slept in the hospital bed behind us. He did the majority of the cleaning of the apartment and separating things into donate and garbage. While I sat on the couch watching Treehouse Masters.

There are a lot of things I wish for my kids in their adulthood, but nothing more than closeness with each other. I don’t know how I would have survived any of the Great Big Parental Health Problems of the last 20 years if it hadn’t been for him. I definitely couldn’t have survived their deaths. He is also an amazing uncle…talking to my kids about their lives like he really cares, because he truly does. It’s not the lip service a lot of adults pay children, and they know that. He’s also freakin’ hilarious. He makes me laugh when we most definitely should not be laughing, he doesn’t judge me when I say terrible things, and he gives the best hugs.

I’ve been filled with a lot of gratitude the last week, for so many gestures of kindness and love that I’ll be writing Thank You Notes for years. But the gratitude I have that I was gifted this amazing brother to be next to me during all of the hard times, is not something I could ever put into words.

Love you bro. I’m sorry you’re the ugly one.

Leave a Reply