Thursday, October 15, 2015

Inch Eighty-Seven: End Days

My older brother is dying. He was diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer earlier this summer and began treatment immediately. The oncologist was able to rein that cancer in. What no one anticipated was the liver cancer, which turned out to be unrelated to the metastasized lung cancer, suddenly going rogue and exploding in size and impact in the last three weeks. Treatment has stopped; hospice is in the home.

My older brother is dying with grace and humor and sadness and tears and laughter. The cancer is consuming him so quickly that his face is not the same face it was just four days ago. His energy levels are dropping by the minute.

My older brother is dying. I have always had an older brother and there will be a gap now. I think of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's writing when her older sister Elisabeth died, and the grace and sorrow with which Anne wrote about the loss of her sister and the hole in her world. 

I am at work as I type this. A half hour ago, I had to walk a block downtown to do some banking for my Aunt Ginger. When I stepped outside, I was hit with the intensity of the October day. The maple tree at the law office across the street is aflame; the sky is brilliant blue. All I could think of as I stared up at the sky and smelled the sweet smell of autumn was that I was fiercely glad my brother is dying in the midst of all this beauty and splendor. What a season to exit the world in.

Edna St. Vincent Millay's sonnet, "God's World," came to mind:

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
   Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag
To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all,
         But never knew I this;   
         Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

May my brother's way out of this world be marked with the brilliant burning leaves of this season.


Out My window said...

My prayers and thoughts are with you at this time. You are a lovely person and your brother is blessed to have you.

Darla said...

So sorry to hear this April. My thoughts are with you and your brother. The poem is beautiful and not one I was familiar with.

Laurie said...

Oh April, these fall days have been exquisitely beautiful. Your post is such a beautiful tribute to your brother. My heart and my thoughts are with you. Wishing you peace on this path you are walking.

Anonymous said...

Your own prose has become like poetry of late.

Tonya said...

I do love the way your write. You truly missed your calling. My love, thoughts, hugs, and prayers are with you and your family. I aspire to be you one day....carrying my head high with the elegance and character that you do....accepting the things we can't change. I love you.