They had not spoken in awhile. The lack of conversation did not change what was a reality. Even without a blood relationship, they knew they were brothers. They had been part of each other’s life for decades. Christmas was always spent together at home. Mother’s day was remembered by whoever was present on behalf of those that were not. Their bond went deeper than most siblings.
They always assumed they would be there for each other. The voicemail at the odd hour from a third brother was an unknown alert. The conversation that eventually followed with Mom was direct. He is gone. He suffered a massive stroke. The feed of oxygen had been cut off to the brain.
There had been no time to say good-bye. Their final meeting came and went without notice.
I wonder what I would do if I knew I was saying good-bye for the last time. What would cause me to believe? Would I act differently? If so, how?
An old wisdom father knew he was leaving. His friends “knew they would never see him again—he had told them quite plainly. The pain cut deep. Then, bravely, they walked him down to the ship.” (Acts 20.38)
The call was a harsh reminder that there would never be a good-bye. Life, as they had know it had vanished. There would be new beginnings, but without a brother. It will be difficult to face Christmas this year. Mother’s day has taken on a new dimension. It is going to be even more important now that there is nobody to cover when one forgets.
Life will go on. Even as one knows the truth in this statement, accepting its reality is painful. There is little choice, even as one continues to search for the alternative. Acceptance seems to always be just beyond one’s grasp.
I listen to the story, remembering friends and extended family that are no longer here. With one exception, I never had a chance to say good-bye. Circumstances always caught up with me when it was too late.