Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Baby Bro...

For you... I hope you enjoy it!
He won't remember this, but I do... I was about six, and since he's almost exactly three years younger than me, I still have my wits about me to do simple math, that makes him three in this recounting.... we were at Dublin Lake in Dublin, NH, being watched by someone, but not very well. (He was called another name as a child and has changed it many years ago, but we will, for the sake of having some kind of title, call him YB - Younger Brother). Well, YB decided that the making of sand castles was no longer interesting, and he wandered off. But he didn't wander off toward the changing cabins - to the right - but toward the area where the boats were launched - to the left of the beach.

A great hullabaloo went up when it was determined that he was no longer on the beach, and lifeguards and other adults were launched into the Great Search Party for YB. I watched this with some interest, but not enough to get as excited as they were getting. I continued making up the moat, the next bucket level of the castle and then someone ran over what had been our creation, mashing it back into the sand.

Now I was fully bored with all of this action and I decided to walk toward the left side of the beach because it would take me away from the hysteria, and because even the lake water is more peaceful over there. As I padded along on the needle-studded dirt path, I noticed a movement ahead. As I got closer, I thought I could see YB. (I should add that as a severely near-sighted child, any fuzzy image might have been mistaken for YB.) He confirmed my suspicion by whispering, "Don't tell them I'm here." I was tempted to obey his command, pretend I didn't hear him, but I also knew there was likely to be a greater consequence for keeping his secret. What a conflict!! Let him stay lost and thereby redeem my spot as the adored younger child, or become a heroine by revealing where he was and have to endure his presence for a little longer? I opted for the latter. I could try and dispose of him later on. Immediate gratification for being the finder of the lost won out.

NOTE TO YB: I really am glad now I wasn't able to carry out all my early dastardly attempts to remove you from my life... has it really been 60+ years of our sibling rivalry? Hope this birthday year is one of the best so far and all my love to your long-suffering wife!


  1. Thanks for the blog. And thanks for jogging my memory, as I distinctly do remember that event. It was one of my first episodes towards leaving the nest and preparing for distant travel.

  2. dearest sandy,

    i don't know how else to contact you, and feel badly that this message is on a post that is wishing YB happy b'day. you can remove it after you read it - i will understand.

    my darling, hugh, died on sunday afternoon. on friday i found him lifeless in our bed. emts were able to get a heartbeat, and took him the the CICU at our cardiac center. he was put on a vent, in a hypothermic state, and never regained counsciousness. his brain was assaulted by 100's of seizures, and we were told that it had been w/o oxygen too long, and that he would never be able to recover.

    he was in CR from the MM; i am in remission, too. we were just beginning to grab harder onto life, realizing our dreams of travelling the world and reclaiming many of the interests we had before 2 incurable cancers put all that on hold.

    thankfuly, we learned to enjoy every single pleasure and blessed contenment in ordinary days. we got really good at taking care of each other when needed, and i got to see hugh walk normally the tuesday before he died for the 1st time since october, 2009 - after nearly 4 years of physical therapy.

    but reviewing the last few months, i now realize there were fleeting and diffuse signs that something was amiss. he denied most of them, and since he was scheduled to see his MM specialist in the next week, i just kept note of the small changes. i believe that hugh had a brain tumor - perhaps not a large one, but one that was in a lethal position - that stopped his heart so suddenly. he had no sign of anything amiss in his heart, lungs, no emboilsms, et. al..his MM doc agreed it was likely he had a brain tumor.

    irony has been a theme of our story. the irony that he died while we were both in remission is unspeakabley painful. but i do feel gratefull that he did not have to suffer all that a recurrence would have imposed upon him, and that if he indeed had a brain tumor, it never had a chance to slowly claim function after function. he had a living will, so my son and i were guided by his wishes not to remain on life support. we were there in peace and relief when that beautiful man slipped the bonds of his battered and broken shell, and sent him off to fly away to where he needed to be. we feel his presence at all times, and we are careful to be aware and let him know we hear and feel him.

    i was given such a gift by a breast cancer blogger, annemarie ciccarella, who has become an earth angel to hugh and me. her post on friday was a call out to the readers of her blog that hugh's condition was dire, and that we needed support and good thoughts and prayers. she also allowed me to chronicle what was happening from the time hugh was admitted to CICU through to his death. if you or anyone in the MM community would like to read our story, the name of her blog is: Chemobrain in the fog breast cancer blog. the post and comment section dated friday, may 3rd is the one to access.

    i want to thank you with all my heart, sandy, for always being here for us. your compassion and extraordinary kindness, your friendship and generosity to intend for us will never be forgotten. i love you.

    love, XOXO,

    karen (sutherland)

    1. Dear dear Karen, I will not delete this 'comment' because it is so much a part of the MM story, and of our connection because of it. Hugh has joined the star fleet, and will be your Special Angel. You know my heart sends you many virtual hugs across the miles as you adjust to being on a bicycle built for two all by yourself... it won't be easy, but know there are many who have trod this stony path before and can hold your hand when you need it.

      Take good care of yourself; your work is not yet done. Your kind words and energy of love to all the MM'ers whose blogs you read I am sure has helped many get through a day that seemed very difficult. And I am intending that your remission lasts a long while, for the highest and best good of all concerned, so be it and so it is!! I do so appreciate you, and your special words on my behalf. I love you, too... and isn't that what we are doing here - spreading the Love? Sandy