I am in New York. Greg came home from hospice on Monday. Since my ever generous siblings have already exhausted themselves over the last weeks and months of his care, I figured it was about time I pitched in a bit and gave them a small respite.
Interestingly, if there was a "help wanted" ad for Greg's caregiver currently it would read something like this. Wanted: someone who can do light cooking and cleaning, has basic first aid training, is not accustomed to uninterrupted sleep, needs patience, and can take direction and criticism fairly well."
Hmmmm...since most of these are part of my normal duties as a professional mother, I applied. And as luck would have it- I got the job!
Honestly, these days have been precious. My siblings and nieces and nephews have been helping out daily as well despite full time work and family responsibilities. Truly I have never met a more generous lot and am so proud to call them my family. I won't pretend that its not terribly difficult to watch my brother suffer, or to know how to help him when he does, but there is something unique and special about each of these days too. My brothers personality has softened and sweetened. The rough edges all smoothed away by the constant suffering. He is sorry for his sins. He is grateful for the smallest acts of mercy.
And my brothers and sisters are cherishing each moment too. In order to help me to help Greg, my sister Angela and brother Paul have taken a few of my kids for the week. My other siblings, and cousins, and nieces, and nephews , and aunts and uncles have been in and out with a million kindnesses that have left us all so humbled by the sheer goodness.
Life seems so real these days. All the unimportant distractions have washed away leaving in the wake what matters. Family. Life. Love. Faith.
And though none of us have any diagnosis, I assure you that we have all been stricken by cancer along with our brother. His wounds are carried in his body, the rest of us carry it in our hearts and souls. And so while Greg suffers we suffer too. But like Greg, our spirits are strong and our faith, by the end of this journey, may just be big enough to reach the size of a mustard seed.
And I think, after all, that may be the point.