15 April 2009

Where is my compassion?

The title's been in my head a few days, and yet I've been reluctant to write. Fuck it.

Last week, my mom told me that my brother's x-ray during the course of his physical showed a spot on his lung. I said, "Figures." I was more surprised that his physical actually included an x-ray.

For over two decades, I chided, scoffed, informed, berated, and cajoled my brother to quit smoking. Even I got tired of doing it though, so for the last few years, I'd just say, "You know that's bad for you, right?" from time to time. He and his wife did quit when she was pregnant, although I gather he didn't completely. I was so disappointed when I heard that telltale inhale over the phone sometime after my niece was born five plus years ago. That sound is such a dead-fucking-giveaway, and he didn't deny it when I called him out for it.

When they were up for Christmas a few months ago, he and his wife were both taking medication to quit, and haven't been smoking since. I can't claim any influence on them finally making that decision.

Anyway... my brother's doctor said he has an abscess on his lung and set an appointment for him to see a specialist this past Monday. I was expecting worse frankly.

Getting home after dinner on Monday, there was a message on the machine from my sister-in-law. The specialist told my brother to check into the hospital. They don't know anything. They're going to run more tests. She was barely able to say all this without seriously busting into tears, and all I could think was: Pull it together. You've got a five year old. They don't even know anything yet.

She's been hospitalized for asthma related stuff before. She needs to chill the fuck out until they know something.

This is when I started really pondering, where is my compassion?

Mom chalks up everything between us to sibling rivalry, but for me, that has so little if anything to do with it. There'a a lot of unseen history from her perspective, and I have no plans to explain.

My parents are driving down as I type. They were going to visit family anyway, a trip I'd already declined to join; they just left a few days earlier. I'm holding down the fort, waiting for third hand news.

Last night, I asked myself, in spite of everything, what would I hope to get from him under similar circumstances? Even if I don't feel like he's there for me, if I'm not there for him, I'm no better. I drew him a get well soon card and wrote: Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Love, Claire

A year ago on TTaT: Let the wild rumpus start


  1. It's really easy to be hard on sibling and family members. My sister was being an idiot yesterday and I almost let her have it.

    I hope they figure out what is wrong with him. You're in my thoughts! *hugs*

  2. Keep us posted on what's going on with your brother. I am terrible with things like this, because I am one hell of an alarmist.

  3. kilax: your second sentence made me laugh. thanks.

    Elisabeth: I'll try to hit the highlights. Still, at this point, there's no reason to assume the worst. Being sick sucks, but for now, there's not much to do but wait... and try to embrace the kindler, gentler Claire.