Home » A Wasted Life » In Memory Of My Second Brother

In Memory Of My Second Brother

Today is November 11th.  It is Veterans Day and it would have been my second brothers’ 60th birthday.  He was a normal little boy and thankfully, mama hadn’t given him an aspirin bottle to play with that somebody like me, who was “so smart” could open for him.
There was no aspirin poisoning but there was a bad reaction to a “flu shot” when he was two and a half years old.  The great irony here is…..he was the same age my first brother was when I killed him.
Mama came to get me from my grandparents’ house because back then, everybody went to the school to get the latest shot….be it for “Swine” or “Asian” or whatever the current flu was.
I always breezed through everything…broken legs, measles, mumps, chicken pox and shots….shots were nothing compared to some of the things I had suffered.
I remember when I got the shot, my arm immediately started to swell and I was bleeding like a stuck pig.  Mama, P**** and C*** all got sick.  I refused to be sick and went out to play when I got back to my grandmothers’ house…but I didn’t feel good and my arm hurt.
The next thing I knew, C*** was in the hospital.  He had suffered a “grand mal seizure.”  Back then there was no Ativan or any other kind of seizure medication so he had to just seize.  He seized for sixteen hours.  When he finally got out of the hospital, he couldn’t remember how to walk or talk or even sit up.  I was actually allowed to go home briefly, to help with C***.  He did so well, making up for everything he had forgotten how to do…until the next seizure came.  That one lasted even longer.  After a short while, he was having seizures every day.
There weren’t ambulances then so I would help mama get him into the car and she would make a mad dash to the hospital.  I would do my best to hold him and try to keep him from kicking us or breaking out a window.  By the “old standards of care” you were supposed to put something in the mouth of someone having a seizure to keep them from biting their tongue.  I’m lucky I still have all my fingers.  He could really clamp down.
He seized so often, that his little brain suffered irreparable damage, due to lack of oxygen.  I’m sure it was a horrible experience for my mama and daddy.  They had lost their first little boy and even though this one was still there, he was gone, too.
They kept him until he was twelve years old and then he got too big to handle.  He never got violent or anything but he was bad to get away from mama and walk around the neighborhood naked.
My mama and daddy took him to a home for the severely (they called it retarded then.)  My grandma, grandpa and I met them there.
C*** was standing at the window, waving goodbye to us as we drove away.  I wanted to cry but I was afraid my grandparents would get mad at me.  I don’t know why.  They weren’t like mama.
When I got older, I would go visit C***.  He had gotten tall and had black hair and brown eyes…just like everybody else in the family…but me.  I was the oddball.  I had blonde hair and green eyes.
We were allowed to leave the grounds so I would take him to McDonalds and buy him a hamburger.  He never remembered who I was.  He always thought I was P****.
While we sat there and ate, I would look into his eyes and think….”is the joke on us?  Are you really in there…hiding maybe?  Did you make a conscious decision to leave the family because it was so fractured?
Do you even know that I’m your sister?  Could you tell that something wasn’t right?  Would you have been my protector if I had been there and you hadn’t been damaged?  Would you have been on my side…or would you have joined in the hatred and the punishment?”
I always left thinking,  “he was loved.  He was truly lucky.  I hope if he knows that.”
Who knows what he could have been?  Who knows what he could have done?  Maybe HE would have “changed the world.”  He might have been brilliant and kind and loving and he might have even liked me.
Many years later, he was put into a regular nursing home.  I would go get mama and take her to see him.  The first time I walked into the new home, one of the nurses said “are you P****?  C*** talks about you all the time!  I’m so glad you finally came to see him!”
Before I even thought about it, I heard myself saying, “no, I’m the other one.”  That’s how my daddy used to introduce me to people….as “the other one.”
C*** loved quarters, so I always made sure to have a pocketful when I went to see him.  It was the typical nursing home.  He never had on his own clothes and nothing we brought him was ever in his room.  He collected pictures of cars and he didn’t care what kind they were, as long as they were cars.  He managed to be able to keep those.
He had started keeping his eyes closed but he would grin from ear to ear while I was talking to him.  I would ask him every time I saw him if he knew who I was.  He always said P****.
I don’t know why he would close his eyes.  Maybe it was to try to hide from the anonymous, cruel prison he had been sentenced to for life, with no chance for parole and no tools to allow for escape.  Maybe there was just a little recognition and he couldn’t stand to see the pain in my eyes…or maybe he could sense the lack of feeling between mama and me…or maybe he just couldn’t stand to look at me because he sensed that mama thought I was worthless.  I don’t know.
C*** died at the age of fifty-five from liver failure…a direct result of the effects of the seizure medication he had taken for years.  It is my fondest hope that angels carried him away to a better place, where he will be able to live and laugh and love…and maybe he’ll even remember me.
When P**** called me and told me he had died, she said “I guess I’m going to have to take care of it” but said she didn’t have the money.  P**** didn’t want to have to pay for a funeral or cremation or whatever it took to get rid of him.
Mama had given P**** everything….her house and what money she had.  I had to buy the house from P**** when I wouldn’t let Loser pay for the necessary repairs that were needed to keep it insured and mama had also made P**** promise to look out for C***.
I told her I would call the hospital and talk to them about donating his body to science.  I thought maybe his brain might be a good reference for interns to study the damage brought on by life-long seizures.  The hospital agreed, so P**** was off the hook.  It didn’t cost her a dime.
There were burial plots and a sizable tombstone that my daddy had gotten many years ago.  The little brother I killed is the only one who is actually buried there.  All my daddy could afford was a simple marble plaque that said “R***** 19**-19**” and somebody took it.  They also took my daddys’ plaque from his service in the army.  The hospital placed a hand-written name card in front of the tombstone for C*** but it has long since disappeared as well.  Some of mamas’ ashes are sprinkled there.  Some of my daddys’ ashes are sprinkled there, too.
I asked P**** to go in halves with me to get plaques with the names of mama, my daddy, R***** and C***.  She wasn’t interested.  I guess she doesn’t care that there will never be any evidence that they ever lived.
Sleep well little brother, until we meet again.

21 thoughts on “In Memory Of My Second Brother

  1. I can only understand how hard it is that your brother mistakenly referred to you by your sister’s name. But you HAVE BEEN and were very good to him.

    This flu shot? Did it cause a lot of controversy? Did several people have the kind of reaction that your brother did? Was the pharma company sued for what your brother suffered.

    Your sister is very selfish.

    My mother is one of four sisters. My grandma had many children (many losses actually), and none of her sons lived. But she was not resentful of her living daughters. Your mother appears to have resented it.

    I am glad you stood with your brother till the end.

    Why do you say you killed the other brother?

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    • Back then, there was no controversy. It was never investigated. I have no idea if other people had a reaction to it or not. My other brother was a year younger than I was. Mama gave him an aspirin bottle to play with because it rattled. I figured out how to get the lid off, he ate them and died.

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      • That is where you are wrong. You are not forgotten. People may be pointedly ignoring you, which at times may feel worse, but there are people who will always be there to remember you even if you don’t know them. Think for a minute about the nurses that cared for your brother. If you were the one who came to see him, brought your mother to see him, they will always remember you as the loving sister and daughter you were then. While it may not always be the people we want to remember us, we are always remembered if you are a good person because good people touch so many other people’s lives without even knowing it.

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        • It is true that people touch others lives, many times without even knowing it. That’s why I have made a point of letting people know that I remember things they have done…like the girl who used to carry me up the stairs when I broke my leg the fist time. She was astounded that I remembered and she was grateful that I let her know.
          I would love to hear from someone who thinks I had a positive impact on their lives, but I doubt I ever will.

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  2. Huh, well I’m thinking alot about this. My father had a sister like your brother, his family was kind of like yours, he only recently started to talk about her & I think about that too. I also think, there is evidence of him in your heart & now that you shared, in mine too.

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