The Healing Trip (Part 25)

My brother had promised he'd come to me in a dream to let me know he was okay. But months had gone by. I had come home. Settled his estate. Gone to Ireland and Northern Ireland and Scotland and returned home.

And I waited . . .

I had dreamed about him, yes.

I had dreamed about him in the every day. But nothing that said, "I'm okay."

Until . . .

I dreamed he was alive again.

Sick. Frail. Dying.

Dennis and I were at the house with him, taking care of him. Dennis was in the kitchen at the sink, washing dishes. Van sat in his favorite chair in the family room, the comfy blue one, watching TV.

I was walking out of the back door with a load of clothes for the laundry. Vanessa, Van's cat who now lives with Dennis and me, was at the back door, wanting out.

"Van, do you want me to let her out or no?"

"No," he said.

I raised my foot up to push her back, but as I opened the door, she darted out.

"Oh, Van," I said. "She got out."

He struggled to get up. "I'll get her," he said.

"No," I said. "You're too weak. I'll get her."

But he insisted. "I'll do it," he said, moving past me.

I panicked. He was too sick for this. His walk, a shuffle. His shoulders hunched. His arms and hands drawn up close to his chest.

"Van," I said, pleading. "Let me get her." But he kept going around to the back of the house with me behind him.

And then I stopped. Because he kept going, walking toward a light so bright, it blurred everything around it. His back straightened. His shoulders squared. His hands and arms dropped to his sides. His walk became deliberate. Strong.

And he walked straight into the light. Straight into the light until he was gone. Gone from the suffering. From the pain. From the cancer that had robbed him of so much and rewarded with with far greater than anything we can imagine here on earth.

He was home. Yes, Big Sister, I am all right.

He had let me know, just as he promised he would.


I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking the healing trip was my trip to Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

But, you are wrong.

This was my healing trip.

Writing this. Allowing you into my most private agony, watching my little brother die.

I'm okay now, even though I'll miss him every day for the rest of my life. I'll miss our talks. His wisdom. His laughter (You had to know his laughter!). I'll miss watching "Jesse Stone" and "Joe Kenda" and Steve Harvey on "Family Feud" with him. And everything in between.

But, I'd never want him to come back, because he is the lucky one. As he said to Dr. Barnes after being told there was no hope, "I'll take one breath here and one breath with the Lord."

And, so he had . . . leaving me behind to heal . . . and to carry on.

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