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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

He ain't heavy, he's my brother...

My big brother slipped away yesterday. His heart gave out while waiting for the surgery to fix the defect.

Only nine years older than me, he was the male role model in my life. A single mom raised two boys with no father. He stood in when I was small, carrying me to the house from the car when I feigned sleeping.

He sparked my interest in fencing. We used to battle in the backyard with pots on our heads, using garbage can lids as shields and slats from peach crates, which we carved into swords. Big brothers teach little brothers to duck, swerve and run real fast.

We didn't always get along, I still hold the grugde about when he shot me in the back with the BB gun when I was nine. Yet we were close. He lived with me for the last 6 years after our mom past away. During the last 6 months of her life, he quit his job to take care of her. The homecare nurses were astounded that the boys took care of the ailing mother. I'm suprised that they found it unusual.

Lately, his health had been poor but his death was unexpected for me. It had been at the back of my mind in a "what if" scenario. Yet my big brother should have won this round. Even though for last two months I helped him up and down the stairs protecting him against a fall.

In a funny way, I became the "big" brother.

The title of this post refers to song that I never read the lyrics before. I always joked with him about the line, but I didn't really understand the underlying meaning.

So when I read, earlier today, these lines the tears finally burst through:
If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

He had a big, big heart. A heart that eventually gave out.

God, I miss him...