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The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's

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« My Brother My Friend | Main | Spun From Gold »
Monday
Oct212013

Big Brother

My big brother is here to take me to my appointments this week. With both of us in our forties it's odd to say "big brother". Perhaps now it should just be brother, or older brother, but when history won't let go, the description stays the same. He protects me. He towers above me. He is my big brother.

We have never had time alone with one another. This is the first week ever that I will spend each day waking to his smile and sipping coffee in the same haze of a newborn day.

Last night I sat at dinner with Don and the kids and my brother, Jim. I felt so proud of our large family and ached with gratitude that another seat at the table was filled. It took years for us to fill his seat. This week, Jim is staying with me at the hotel and taking me to all of my appointments. The one who pulled my braids. Who I bothered by sneaking into his room and moved his things around. The big brother I secretly admired for being all that he was. He was the one human being I wanted to be. Because he was so special to me. And now he is here because he wants to be. And that is life's gift. Even if it had to wait until I was forty three.

Jim made a stop on his way from Vermont to see our father. It's been ten years since he saw dad's house. Or pet dad's dog. Or listened to his cockatiel sing. This is also the first time in my life he is coming out to see me. To hug my shoulders and carry me from my chair to a seat. My big brother is here for me.

Life shifts when you hit forty-three.

My illness has woken something in my family. An awareness of time shifting in our boots as time marches into the horizon. The sun beginning to set in its arc of life. The second hand ticking to the tock of time I look into my brother's eyes so sweetly aged. And I than God for sending my brother my way.

This week I will learn more about who my brother has become since we went our separate ways. College, marriage and children plied our lives into worlds apart. There is so much to learn about why he pulled my braids and the lives that we have made. I live in California and he lives in Vermont. But now the challenge that has shattered my life, is now the same thing that is pulling it back together again.

I need help 24/7 right now in order to get through this pain program. Loved ones take shifts in staying at my hotel to take me to my doctors each day from 8:30am-4pm or so. They are my cheerleaders, my supporters, my blessings. And now my brother is too. And now I have a chance to get to know who we have become since we stood in front of our house on Aikahi Loop holding hands for our mother's camera on the first day of school. Since we fought like cat and dog. Since he stood up for me when that other boy broke my heart. I never thanked my brother for telling him off. Now I can.

I want to thank my big brother for so many things. But now I thank him for simply being here to hold my hand again and to tell me that he cares; to ward off this other beast that has broken my heart.

Challenges can bring blessings. I have discovered so many of them along the way. Having my brother here is one of my greatest blessings and one I will hold in my heart forever. Perhaps I might even forgive him for pulling my braids. And for telling that boy off who first broke my heart. Because now my heart is mending too.

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