Tuesday, June 14, 2011



I remember the day Daddy told you that you were so special that the flag was waving in your honor.  It was your 6th birthday and I was almost five years old.  Your birthday was the first big event of the summer and you would pave the way for my birthday in July.  For only 4 1/2 weeks you were boastfully "2" years older than me.  When you heard about flag day you were so excited and wanted to drive up and down main street just so you could see the flags that lined the street.  You would yell out the window to passersby letting them know that it was your birthday.   How thrilled you were when people responded with a happy birthday shout back to you.

I wish life had always been so carefree for you dear brother.  You seemed to be the kid in the family who inherited all the broken genes.  Asthma was your nemesis almost as soon as you could walk.  I remember hearing your labored breathing from my bedroom next to yours.   Holidays, with their excitement and festivity would almost always induce an asthma attack that sent you to the hospital.  I remember the first time I visited you in the hospital when we were little and saw you lying under the oxygen tent.  I was almost jealous because I wanted a fort of my own.

You were a mystery to me when we were kids.  You never quite accepted your abdication from the throne as the youngest child.  Therefore you never quite accepted me.  I'll never forget when you told me that you really didn't know I existed until the day I became a mother myself.  Twenty-one years is a long time to be invisible.

I have watched you struggle to live in a world that was often confusing and frightening.  Your diagnosis of Schizophrenia was not only a shock to the family but certainly to you.  Although it gave clarity to your often "odd behavior" it must have been horrifying to a nineteen year old young man.  It spelled out a future that was uncertain and foreign to us all.   

But here you are, 63 years old today.  The flags are flying high for your dear brother.  I have learned so much from you and you have inspired me to never take anything for granted.  Most of life's obstacles have been reduced to minor inconveniences in my life compared to your constant struggle to differentiate between delusion and reality. But no matter how you walk that fine line between sanity and insanity you always speak from a place of sincerity and honesty that the rest of can only strive to reach.  

When our dear auntie was complaining about her own precious granddaughter and threatening to never speak to her again because of some questionable behavior on her part, you simply responded, "Well, I just love her!" You dear brother silenced the entire room.   You showed us all that judgment needs to be for the one who will judge us all and that our job here on earth is to merely love one another.

And so......dear brother.  Thank you for being a part of my life!  Thank you for allowing me to get a glimpse of the world as you see it.  You have made me a better person.  




Olga said...

Your brother and I share the exact same birthday. I was told the flags were out in honor of MY birthday, though.

kenju said...

What a lovely post - and I hope your brother will read it. He was right about the judgments!

marciamayo said...

I agree with Kenju. An absolutely beautiful post full of love and understanding.

oklhdan said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLGA! May the flag wave proudly for your special day!

Arkansas Patti said...

Happy Birthday Mike. You are a special man with a marvelous sister.