I relay because of a phone call that changed my life forever. 5 years ago my brother phoned to tell me that he hadn’t been feeling well; it didn’t sound serious, perhaps he was afraid to scare me, he was after all my big brother. I was so proud of my brother for overcoming his sever learning disability and pursuing a college degree, so our call quickly changed to a story he was writing for class. Growing up my brother could barely read, I beamed with pride. My brother was my hero in every sense of the word and I couldn’t fathom a world without his presence; for surely the sun would stop shining and birds would cease to sing. He is my shining star.
I relay because a few days later my brother informed me that the doctors diagnosed him with lung cancer, Stage 4. I rallied because we were going to beat this, I was determined. We laughed, we cried, we told stories and mostly we told each other how much we loved each other and how proud we were of each others accomplishments. It was never a good-bye, it was a love that was to nourish our spirit and strengthen our fight against this disease. The big C… I can hardly bring myself to even say the word.
I relay because of twenty minutes. Twenty minutes. I drove ten hours through the night a few weeks later to visit my brother. The drive seemed to last for an eternity. My mind played memories of growing up and of things my big brother did that brought a smile to my face. I thought about the things we could do while I visited and I thought about vitamin concoctions I read about on the internet. I thought about his diet and the stories I read from survivors. I stopped for coffee, I was tired and had to pee; I shouldn’t have stopped for coffee. I waited in line for 20 minutes thinking about the difference in my brother’s voice during our last conversation. I continued to drive, armed with my smile and arsenal of love. My brother died 20 minutes before my arrival. Twenty minutes.
I relay because from that second on I lost a piece of me. It was as if this darkness enveloped my world and even after it dissipated the residual energy hung over me like a wet drape. Heavy and limp. I think of my brother every day. I hated the big C. I cursed it. In a blink of an eye it managed to steal my brother from me and leave behind a trail of heartache that went well beyond me. There should be a word stronger than “mourning.” There is no word in the English language that could effectively describe the loss of a piece of yourself. There just isn’t.
I relay because one day there will be a cure. I am positive of this. I relay for those who are fighting, those who survived, and for those who are left behind. I relay because I have hope. I relay because each year a tiny part of me returns when I read other’s stories and as silly as this sounds… as I round the track on SL with Gopu. I give a piece of myself to everyone I encounter and they give it back ten-fold. I relay for my brother and my family. I relay with a dream that the world will become cancer free.
Dedicated to David, the world is a better place because of you. I miss you. Everyday.
Items in image are credited on Threads and Tuneage.