My older brother, Mike, died 5 years ago. I wrote about him on my blog.
I have not written of my other brother, Bob, who died of a brain tumor, too. I have not written of this man whom I loved without reservation, with all my heart. He died just 2 years ago on Memorial Day. He died in just 2 weeks.
I have not been able to write about him.
To the world, he was Robert J. Duffy, poet and plumber, father and friend. To me, he was my best friend, a safe place to be, a soft spot to land where I could be exactly who I am and never think twice about it. He was a man of so many talents and so much intelligence, so much life.
In 2 weeks he disappeared before my very eyes.
As I did for Mike’s family, I stood for Bob in the hospital. I stayed with him, sleeping in his room, fighting for him, for his comfort, for his peace. I argued with the neurosurgeon who wanted to do one more surgery. I argued with the ICU nurse who wanted to watch soap operas while my brother’s life drained away.
And I argued for my brother to be taken home, the only place he wanted to be, the only place he wanted to die. I slept by his hospital bed in his living room, holding his hand although he was no longer there. I read poetry to him. He was a published poet and I was not good at it, but I read, anyway…
And when he died, his daughter Becky and I were by his side.
This year, his wife decided to give away Bob’s books. I understand why – the need to move on, not to turn the corner and see his books, be reminded that he is no longer in this plane. But when the books are gone, his house will feel a bit emptier. The last vestige of my brother will be gone, the man who used to come downstairs every morning of every visit saying, “Racket, racket, racket, who’s making all the racket?” then hug me and smile, that man will be gone.
And I will be left behind, again.
I miss him every day and this time of year the loss is almost unbearable. For once, there are no words to describe how very much I miss him..