Sunday, November 30, 2014

 
ON PASSING VERSUS DEATH
 
I was going to write this piece after my last return from east Texas to see my brother.  The night before I left I was going through a lot of his papers to find documents I need to handle his estate.  In those documents I found a letter from his base commander and chief medical officer stating that his neurofibroma would not interfere with his duties as an E-8.  For you non-military people E-9 is the highest rank for an enlisted person.  My brother was logistics and supplies.
 
In the end he turned down the promotion to E-8 because it meant going back to Korea and leaving behind his new bride.  After 25 years he was done.  My brother because of a very raw deal, was raised by our joint step-mother.  He was part of the 5 from daddy's second wife.  Jimmy who raised my brother was his 3rd wife, who he divorced before moving to Nicaragua with Pan Am.
 
My brother dropped out of school in middle school.  He had a rough life.  He got his GED in the army and moved up the ranks.  He did two tours in Vietnam.  The first tour was the dangerous one.  I believe he was an E-4 when a truck part of a supply convoy he was on broke down.  He along with several others were tasked to spend the night in the jungle protecting the truck until help could arrive in the morning.  Well a lot of noise in the bush got the soldiers nervous and they opened fire.  The next morning they found a lot of dead water-buffalo just off the side of the road.  That was Vietnam.  His second tour was strictly on base on Saigon so it was not so bad.
 
We share the same father but different mothers.  I had the pleasure of meeting Alice - funny how daddy had children with an Alice and an Alicia.  Alice was a panic and incredibly creative.  I also met daddy's third wife Jimmy just before she died in the nursing home in east Texas.
 
Oh his first wife - Elizabeth was deported back to England.  They married while he was a merchant marine.  Because she was divorced from daddy at the time when she was arrested during prohibition for drinking she was deported.
 
Alice had neurofibroma which she passed to my brother.  He is now basically bed-ridden in a lot of pain.  I fired his doctor who refused to even visit him in the nursing home and brought in a new doctor.  He has him comfortable. 
 
Think about this - he went from selling newspapers as a kid - barefoot in Houston just to give the money to our step-mom to being offered his last promotion as an E-8 in the Army.  He never gave up.
 
He is in a lot of pain, although a lot less since I fired his doctor.
 
He travelled the world - his kids travelled all over Europe during several tours of Germany.  He lived.
 
But it is now time to pass. 
 
After I left him this last time I could not really say good-bye because I was too sick.  I stood at his door with a mask on.  On my way out of town I had to go to his bank to transfer quite a bit of money into a money market.  It was silly he was not earning interest on the money he had in the bank.
 
Before going into the bank I sat in the car and cried my eyes out because I could not really say good-bye, and he was in so much pain  - and then it hit me - I let him go.  He lived a very successful life. 
 
I think sometimes as family we are selfish when it comes to passing.  When I see him before Christmas we will talk.  I will tell him he needs to let go.  He did his part for country and family.  I think sometimes we encourage loved ones to hang on for our pain without regard for their pain.
 
I am good - it will hurt - but I am ready for the phone call.  To what end should I encourage him to fight?  He will not get better.  He is in pain.  My faith is strong enough to know - when he does pass - it will be to just another room wherein he will see the full joy and beauty of God's final home for his children.  How can that be bad?
 
My brother served country, family and humanity.  It is time he be allowed to rest in peace - and you know what - I am good with that - because I do not believe in death - I believe in passing - and he has earned his passing into God's sanctuary of peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When my father was dying in the hospital, my wife had the sense to ask him if he was ready to die. He said yes and she then told him to go ahead and go, we would all be fine, and that he didn't have to stay here for us and suffer. He passed a few hours later. I think he just needed to hear it and know the family would understand and support him. Although we would miss him, his continuing to live and suffer was not what we wanted. It would have only served us and not the one we loved.

Prayers for you, your brother, and your family.