Friday, November 28, 2014

Epilepsy Awareness Month Day 28: Brotherly Love

My first memory, as impossible as it seems, is of my brand new baby brother being carried through the back door of our two-bedroom, white house in Omaha.  We moved out of that house when I was entering the first grade and we forever after referred to that house as “the White House.”

I could not believe my parents were bringing me – at two years old – a real, live doll of my own to play with and care for and love.  Mom later told me she would wake up in the morning to find me in the new baby’s crib playing “mom.”  I fed him, held him and played with him for hours on end.

This was Other Brother’s arrival into the world, not Robert’s.

Robert arrived a few years later and even though I was five years old at the time and probably should remember another new bundle of joy being brought into the house, I have no recollection of it in the least.  Robert’s entrance into the world was memorable for Mom, however – he broke her tailbone.  The doctor also actually used forceps to help deliver Robert (yeah, I can’t believe that is an actual tool sometimes used during childbirth).

Robert literally came into the world kicking and screaming. (I’m pretty sure Mom was too).

Ever since finding out how traumatic Robert’s birth must have been, I wondered if that somehow contributed (or caused) his epilepsy.

Despite this rocky start and subsequent years of our young parents doing their best even while they battled depression, Bipolar disorder, substance abuse and Robert’s epilepsy, I remember a happy childhood.

Much of that was because of these two guys.

A goofy moment between brothers

Maybe it was because of everything happening in our household that Other Brother and I forged a strong bond that remains to this day. I wasn’t always close to Robert but that changed once I took over his care. 

I know that Other Brother is someone I can count on for support not only for me but also for Robert.  I know that when the three of us are together there is laughter and love and an appreciation of our time together.  We don’t really know what the future holds for Robert, particularly with his decline and increased seizures, but we don’t dwell on that when we’re together.  (We might joke about it with each other in a sick, morbid humor kind of way but definitely don’t dwell on it.)

We have never really known what the future held for Robert but this uncertainty (and the chaos of a crazy family) taught us to enjoy what we have right now and not to take ourselves too very seriously. 

I cherish the laughter and joking and love when the three of us are together and know that this strong bond was borne out of adversity (including epilepsy). I also know that it remains even when we are not in the same room together.  

My wish for everyone with epilepsy is that they have family or friends that are just as supportive and who will always be there for them.  Adversity is best traveled together and I am fortunate to have my two brothers always by my side.

Other Brother and Robert aren’t known for their sap and mushy ways (they leave that to me, obviously) but I think I detected a “moment” between them during the interview.

Maybe my sappy ways are rubbing off on them!

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