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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When The Real World Interrupts


http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinprick/
30,000 feet and I can lower my tray-table. I haven't written much lately. There's been a lot on my mind. Some of that comes from processing new thoughts on PBL, inquiry, and design thinking. I know, I'm such a geek.

But I'm also trying to process the fact that my big brother, Rick, is dealing with a battle, for his life, with cancer. I found out right between Christmas and my birthday. Now doesn't that suck for me, right?  Yeah but I'm not the one carrying the big C-word!

So this week I am heading to Connecticut to spend a few days with him and his wife. Her story could be its own blog post. She's had to bury her mother and sister in the last few years. Now she gets to be the primary caregiver to her husband. I know we sign on "till death us do part," but the spouse of a terminally ill person kind of gets the short stick.

In the last two months my brother has been able to have his daughter and one of his sons come visit ( both live with their families in Florida ). My sister, who lives in California was also able to visit. Rick's other son lives in Connecticut. That man has been a godsend and has been able to stay multiple days at the house for day-to-day needs. Finally, my oldest sister has been able to be there as often as possible thanks to also being, right there, in the state. 

Now it's my turn to visit. Everyone has been warning me that "he may look different,"  and intuitively I know that. I've also seen pictures so I can see that he's lost a lot of weight. I'm reminded of a priest who talked with me as I ran a memorial service, on a Navy base in Japan, that "we never know how people will act when they face death. The strongest may break down and the one we worry about may step forward to lead us all." 

All I know is that I deal best with serious issues by finding humor. I have always cried too easily. So I attempt to avoid issues that might make me extremely happy or extremely sad. It comes from years of sports and "real men don't cry!"  Next time you're with me in a serious situation you'll notice that I'm away from the action so no one can see my eyes.

So I'm coming to town to bring the humor. If anyone can find something funny about dying, it's me. But, to be honest, I'm also going for my peace of mind.  This has been very stressful on me and it has distracted me from being my best. That has shown up at work where I haven't done nearly enough for our teachers. It has helped me  avoid taking care of myself as well. I've managed to gain 10 pounds since the first of the year.

We've started our descent and so I'll wrap this up. Stop by my brother's Caring Bridge page and leave a joke or humorous anecdote. We all need to laugh each day and I don't want to be the only one writing jokes on his page. I guess a prayer can be shared as well. He needs as many folks as possible talking to the big guy upstairs in this fight.