In less than a week, our lives changed forever. From a Wednesday to a Sunday, he went from being your typical seven-year-old boy to a cancer survivor. A few unsettling signs that something was off–a limp when he walked, trying to write with the wrong hand–raised concern in my parents. I don’t remember my parents telling me that my brother had a brain tumor. I don’t remember which day of the week my dad set up camp in the hospital, next to my brother.
It all happened so fast that my other brothers and I never made it to the hospital to visit David before he was home. In a span of about 10 days, he was admitted, and a cancerous tumor the size of my mom’s fist was removed from his brain. A couple of teachers from school babysat us kids at home during the long days my mom spent at the hospital with my dad who stayed the whole time my brother was there.
Not only did we get David back, he came bearing gifts of toys and stuffed animals. The usual stuff of sibling rivalry reemerged as a little envy over his seeming good fortune crept in. Oh how very little I knew.
During my Forty Days Til’ Forty endeavor, I’m finding that each day is one more opportunity to take pause and say a prayer of thanks. Today, I am grateful that my brother is still alive and cancer-free. I am thankful that I have very few memories of bickering with my brother but so many good ones instead. Somehow this brother escaped the tickle torture I inflicted on my baby brother and the passionate fury I throttled at my older brother. In place of all that are memories of going on camping trips with our youth group, venturing out in the middle of the week to our youth pastor’s house for Bible studies, and the ease of having someone along who I not only called brother but could also count as a friend. I love you, David.