My Two Brothers Bob

 

I awoke this morning with a Facebook notification telling me that a special member of my family has a birthday. I use the word ‘telling’, instead of reminding, because I didn’t realize that today was the day that my dear mother had birthed my half-brother Bob. June 7 is not etched in my mind yet as a day to remember.  You see, I met him for the first time in my life a year ago.

It was a bittersweet discovery, the details of which I will reveal later. For now, let me just say that Half-Bob (a nickname which I joyously gave to him upon having him in my life) is the brother my psyche craved.

The brother I grew up with, the one I both adored and abhorred was Full-Bob. He was unavailable often as he hid his emotions from his sisters early in his life. (Unless angry or disgusted..he had no problem with expressing that). We had a extremely loving childhood, but Full-Bob was often solemn and moody. As children he teased me and hurt my feelings as only a brother can. Perhaps I was too sensitive. Perhaps I did not get his humor. Nonetheless, there was a deep love for one another.

As an adult, Full-Bob was busy working rotating schedule as a train operator or performing a gig as a professional musician. He often missed family events. He had two miserable marriages and great angst about unfulfilled dreams/desires.  His time was thin and he was often stressed out.

When a cancer diagnosis fell out of the sky he let the full range of his emotions rain down on my sister and I, sharing his disbelief, anxiety, and fear.

Shortly after that horrible diagnosis and dire prognosis his incredible strength hit me with full force. I have always been proud of my brother, but never had I been prouder than while watching him battle an evil disease. He became optimistic of a positive outcome, trying new cancer treatments, researching, vocal in support groups, all while continuing to make music. He was unable to play out, so instead he set up a recording studio in his home. His sense of humor showed a quiet dignity about the process of his body being destroyed.

Meeting Half-Bob was an emotional roller coaster for me. Total sublime happiness upon finding out about him! However, supreme sadness that he and his half-brother Bob never knew each other. I know their bond would have tight, and I know they would have stood side by side on stage playing their guitars.

Half-Bob is strikingly similar to Full-Bob in so many ways. They have the same names, given by different parents.  One is a pessimist. The other was a cynic. They both are very musically talented. Yet Half-Bob reaches out to both of his sisters in a way Full- Bob never could.

There were so many times growing up and as a young adult that I would’ve wanted Full-Bob to be more attentive to me and my life, my family, and more appreciative of who I was. I’ve never heard Full-Bob say he was proud of me.

Half-Bob on the other hand, is 100% more expressive with his feelings towards his new sisters. At first I thought it was insincere. …all the times he told me he loves me, how happy he is to be the “big brother”, how amazing I am. I mean, how could he love me when he just met me for the first time merely months ago? And why couldn’t Full-Bob tell those things? For some reason I really needed to hear them from my brother during my life. Why did I need validation from him?

I love Half- Bob, but it’s different. It’s mixed with disappointment that we didn’t know each other when we were younger and extreme grief at the death of our brother Bob. All the what-if‘s have been very hard for me to look past. But I’m working on accepting the fate of both of my dear brothers.

Our generous, sweet mother created a gift for me the day she gave birth to her first son. Six decades delayed, and yet, he arrived right on time.

A Brothers’ Birthday

Birthday Thoughts  

(I wrote this to my brother to celebrate his birthday on 02/20/2015.  He is gone now, almost a year.  I miss my big brother.)

A firstborn son to loving parents.

Cuddly, cute with crabby cries.

Their only winter of discontent!

Brief it was, as they found their way

Together.

Doted upon and adored, the baby

Grew strong and happy.

Until his sisters came along.

But soon enough the toddler discovered

Sibling love.

A dynamic combination of emotions that evoke

Jealousy, joy, unbounded happiness and fears

The complexity of which sweetens the years

With loyalty, pride, laughter and tears.

*****************************************************

Dear brother,

Your teasing makes me stronger.

Your intellect makes me strive to be smarter.

Your dark moods make me want cheer you.

Your watchful eyes make me feel protected.

Your humor makes me smile.

Your critical tongue makes me try harder.

Your musicality makes me proud.

Your laughter makes my heart light.

Your relentlessness in this battle makes me admire you even more.

On this day, your birthday, I wish so much for you.

I won’t put them down to paper for fear they may vanish.

But you know what they are.

They are the same wishes that you want for me.

02/20/2015 – D. J. Heatherly

To Be Two

To be two is to be

Completely carefree.

Belly laughs are heard

Everyday

Fascinated and fun.

Learning concepts and words

Bright

Eyes and ears alert

About all things near

Everywhere

Cuddly and kind

Tight body hugs of cheer

Always

Spontaneous smiles

Unprompted, unplanned.

Happy

Soft and sweet

Nibbles of neck and feet

Yummy

Giggly and squirmy

I will hold this innocent age in my heart

Forever

Love,

Grandma

(05/03/2017) Silas turns two today!  I want to grasp his sweetness before he goes full-force into the  “terrible two” stage.

Double Digits

Dylan is Double Digits!
At this milestone birthday I want to wish for you a huge birthday wish for many, many, many more happy days in your childhood.  You are 10!! Ten seems like you are growing up so fast, but I am here to remind us all that you are STILL a young boy. That is GREAT!!!.

You still have so much more of your childhood left Dylan so enjoy playing with all your friends. Enjoy all the silly goofing off and clowning around that only a child can get away with! Enjoy make-believe and pretending!  Enjoy digging in the dirt and exploring.  Enjoy your Army men and Minecraft.  You have a great life and are surrounded by love which is reflected in the goodness of your heart and the sweetness of your personality.

I will enjoy introducing you to more and more of the world (and books) and answering your inquisitive questions. I am so proud of the capacity of your brain inside that cranium of yours Dylan!  Like a sponge it soaks up so much every day, continually learning.  Enjoy all that!  Never stop observing the world, thinking and asking questions.

Do NOT worry about anything.  You are 10!  You are bright and smart!  You know what your job is!  Listening at school. Being polite to others. Looking both ways when crossing roads. Taking care of a few chores at home.  Eating healthy and getting exercise every day to keep your body and brain strong and happy.

It is hard for me to express with words… but your first 10 years have spread so much laughter, love and joy to your entire family!  When I think of you, it is always brings a smile to my face and it always brings a fierce feeling of pride and protection. I love everything about you Dylan.

Love, love,
Your #1 Fan, Grandma.

D.J. Heatherly

10/04/2014

dylan 10