Friday, January 6, 2012

From Boy to Man

Christmas Eve, my family has a tradition of celebrating Christmas at my mom's
parents' house. I asked my mom this week how long they have been doing that.
Apparently, that tradition has been happening since my parents were married,
which I believe was in the late 70s. Regardless of when it started, it has been
happening all my life. It's just what we do.

This past Christmas Eve, my brother was quite jolly. He was cracking jokes,
providing us with a Christmas Soundtrack which included, but was not limited to
Hall and Oates and She and Him.

A short seven days later, my brother was forced to grow up in a matter of
hours. If you are just joining this blog, please catch up with the story here.

He became my father's ambassador. He knew my father well and began making
statements such as, "He would have wanted" or "He wouldn't have wanted." He
immediately began thinking of my father's wishes and how he could best help
people carry them out.

He became an executor. My brother is the only one of us siblings that lives
in town. It makes sense for him to be the one to deal with all the legal things
that go along with a death. He quickly assumed his role and began calling the
bank, the insurance office, and even called a piping company that he knew my
father had a bill for. (They graciously voided any debt my father had with them
based on the business my family gave them for 35+ years.)

He became mature. My brother is the one who called me to tell me that I
needed to come home right away. When he heard me start to freak out, he remained
calm. He told me to hand the phone to my roommate to explain to her what was
going on and what I would need from her or anyone else that could help. She and
I both were impressed by him.

He became a comforter. At lunch yesterday, my brother shared with me the
details of the day my father passed away. Since I was so far away, I was not
able to be there. When he got to the part where my sister told my father who was
at the hospital to support him and who loved him, she never mentioned my name.
In a panic, I looked up at my brother with tears in my eyes. He knew exactly
what I was thinking. He stopped the story and told me, "He knew you loved him.
He knew. He wouldn't have wanted you to drive all the way to OH, even if you
could have made it. He knew you couldn't be there. He knew you loved him and he
loved you." That right there gave peace to any guilt that may have surfaced

He became a man. The reason I mentioned the setting for Christmas Eve just
a week earlier is because the person who called me to tell me to come home is
years older than the person who was goofing around on his iPhone with Christmas
music... making us laugh... cracking jokes... That person still exists, but my
brother became a man on the 1st of January. He was forced to step into a role
that some don't have to assume until they are far into adulthood.

My brother is now among the list of my heroes

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