Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The sun has finally stretched itself over the mountains and down into the valley where it has burned off the frost from last night. Its 8:30am, and Margaret has just left the apartment after coffee and talking. When I got up this morning the temperature was 19 degrees, and the grass was white and crisp. The other night, Jenny said she was so glad the frost was coming because she didn’t want to have to pick another bean or ear of corn fro her garden. This morning should have made her very happy!

Beth and her sister Laura arrived the other night. Beth was one of Tim’s nurses on the transplant floor back in 1987 when he had the bone marrow transplant at Hopkins. They have been close friends ever since.

Beth was standing in Mom and Doug’s kitchen before she drove back to her hotel. “Whenever things got hard, I could always call Tim and he made me feel like everything was going to be okay,” she said.

Last night they burned the slash piles in the field, so we had about 100 people over for a barbecue. The flames took off with a roar and shot at least 50 feet into the air just as the sun went down. Mary and Leon took a much needed night off and went to Sandpoint for dinner, so I was on meds duty. I dosed Tim up good, got him dressed in clean jeans and his Hopkins sweatshirt, just as the fires started.

“Dead man walking,” I yelled as we came down the stairs. There weren’t a lot of people in the house, but those that were there were suitably aghast, and Tim laughed so hard he almost fell down.

He was amazing last night. I don’t know where he got the energy, but he walked out to the bonfires several times. We made huge firecrackers and set them off, and they sounded like sonic booms.

It was hard for him because there were some people there he had to say goodbye to for the last time. Meg and Dom had driven up from Orofino, and when they left Tim had to sit down for awhile. I got him back upstairs and into his pajamas and then Stephanie and Liz came up to say goodbye. Suzanne and I stood at the top of the stairs to give them some time alone. We just put our arms around her and then Liz came over and the three of us stood there silently while Steph said goodbye.

Every time someone says goodbye it reminds me. I have seen Tim sick before, and sometimes I can, if not forget, just postpone thinking about what is happening. But watching grief overcome someone as they walk away from him, I am forced to face the fact that they are grieving because my brother is dying.

“This fucking sucks,” Tim said after they walked down the stairs.

I gave him his night meds and left him and Suzanne alone and went into the shop and sat in the dark and cried until I thought my head would fall off, and then I felt better, but I had locked myself off so I had to knock on the door to get back in.

It was a great party though, and Tim had a fantastic time and if there were moments of breathtaking sadness, well there were a lot more moments where he was just electrically alive.

Yesterday he told me twice that he was proud to be my brother, proud of the man I had become, and that he loved me. The funny thing is that I already knew that. And I know that he knows how I feel. I have told him, of course, but there is no better way I can tell my brother I love him then to make sure his face is clean, make sure he is feeling good, make sure his clothes are on straight, and yell “Dead man walking,” as he comes down the stairs…


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