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Sunday, February 06, 2011
Thoughts and Reflection about My Brother's Cancer
My Brother Kevin is writing about his experience battling, enduring, and surviving cancer. In a small way many of us traveled this journey with him, obviously no where near the intensity as Kevin, but yet traveled together.
He had asked if we could share some of our thoughts and memories with him to aid in the formation and development of his book. I just e-mailed a few of my thoughts and thought you might like to see them as well, they are as follows:
As I heard and absorbed the words that my brother had cancer there was a darkness and an emptiness that overshadowed me. My first reaction was that this life of ours, comfortable in the sense of routine and consistency is not what it appears on the surface. That the life we envision can be abruptly taken away without notice.
I had a barrage of thoughts and ideas racing through my mind, but left me with a feeling of overwhelming sadness and a paralyzingly feeling of inadequacy and an inability to change this force of destruction.
I began to think of all the ways that I fell short of being a loving, care, supportive brother. In a peculiar way, a veil was lifted from my eyes and in a vision of pure reality I could see how our relationship could have been much closer with just a little more effort.
From a special place, deep inside my being, grew a need and desire to help in some way. I needed to be close and to let him know that he is loved. The idea that "My Brother" might die was such a foreign and entirely removed possibly of my view of life, not incomprehensibe, but never pondered before, left me in a place of such unsurity.
As Kevin received confirmation of the cancer and the need for a drastic and aggressive course of action I wondered if he could withstand what was being asked of him. I contemplated if I could do the same, but this wasn't about me. I watched the treatment chisel away, weaken, and absorb life and what appeared to be spirit from my brother. It was clear that the enemy was the cancer, but the treatment was the immediate force that was escorting my brother toward death. I was bewildered by the concept that the ally could also be the enemy, and if the ally was killing him, then who could we turn to for cure, for help, for aide?
At one point it appeared as if all efforts were not enough, or maybe too much and Kevin was close to death. On the exterior, it seemed as if there was just not enough strength to withstand the torment, the constant attack, the poison. This began an intensely spiritual dialog with God and understanding the His ways are not our ways. That life is much more that what we can visually comprehend here and that our journey will take us much beyond what we can comprehend.
In some ways I was preparing myself for the death on my brother and what all that meant. Yes, there was the potential that he could recover, but it did not appear as a strong possibility. I contemplated his life, my life, and questioned if we were good men, just men. How would Christ judge him? Would he go to heaven or hell? Would he go to purgatory? Did I help my brother journey a good life, or did my absence in some way effect his eternity?
The more I pondered the alternatives the more I realized that I cannot think as God thinks, I cannot see as God sees, yet I clearly saw that my role of brother was lacking. Yet, I could pray for him, I could call upon the angels and saints, Mary, my guardian angel, his guardian angel, our parents in heaven, to intercede for him and that God's will be done. I could offer each week (at times - daily) my Mass for him, and after the consecration as the priest and I raise the Eucharist and wine up high in thankful respect and honor I could ask a special request from God that Kevin will receive special graces.
I could feel so strongly a heavenly presence amongst Kevin and his being, still not sure of the earthly progression, but sure that heavenly forces were involved and comforted that he was protected.
Just as quickly as he approached a place that appeared close to death, he rose out of the darkened depths and life and spirit returned. He was going to live, he was recovering.
I prayed and thought for weeks about the experience. I realized the many lessons learned and could see how this experience drew in not only Kevin and his brothers, but many others. The lessons of life, virtue, love, forgivingness, charity we were confronted with and we all were affected by through this painful journey.
To this day I still reflect upon and receive additional insights into the mysteries of life due to Kevin's and our journey with Cancer.
I love my brother...... He is so very special, I believe God has touched him with his hand and has called him for a very special purpose. I believe the forces of evil are also aware of this and at times work to confuse and disguise things..... Yet, God is calling my brother for a special purpose that only he can fulfill, yet only God and Kevin can discern what that might be..... I can only watch, pray, and encourage.