Another rough night. He cried out in pain. Nothing helped. No sleep for either of us. The next day, shaken and exhausted, I packed my bag, said I couldn’t take seeing him like that anymore. I had to go. I kissed my brother’s forehead and saw the pleading in his eyes. I knew he wanted it to end and wanted me to stay, but I ran out the door. Before I could leave the teenage daughter of one of the sons came to me. This child was an angel, a girl both wise and compassionate.
“Please don’t leave, Sandy. Grandpa needs you. We all need you. It has meant so much to him that you were here.”
I wept and stayed.
Early that next morning my brother died. I was by his side. The nurse arrived, the doctor the coroner, and an ambulance were on their way, but I didn’t stick around to wait for them. The snow had changed to rain, slush, and gloomy skies. I got my dog, my suitcase, and drove away while the rain slashed the windshield and headed for my sister’s house in Yuba City, a twenty something mile trip. Once on the road, I glanced at the gas gauge. It read close to empty, and a small, rural gas station/convenience store loomed right ahead. I pulled in, filled my tank and went inside to pay.
Handing the proprietor my credit card, I said, “My brother died this morning. He lives not far from here. You probably knew him, Dennis Thomas. He coached a women’s softball team, worked for PG and E. He lived here all his life.”
He stared blankly, back at me. “Sorry about that. Nope, I guess I never met him.”
This is my final blog about my brother and his untimely death to this terrible disease, but his memory will always hold a special place in my heart as will those of other loved ones I have lost to cancer: my mother, my husband, Tom, my best friend, Alan, aunts, uncles. I’m angry. I want a cure. I want this suffering to stop.