I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have seen my brother Steve since my father died in July 1987.
In July 1988, he was at our oldest brother's wedding.
In September 1992, he was at the funeral of my mother's husband.
I didn't talk to him on either of those occasions.
Fast forward to February 2005, when I saw him at Disneyworld, where my mom had a mini-reunion of sorts. We spoke then. And again in April 2006, in Las Vegas for the big birthday bash celebrating my mom's 70th birthday. We spoke then, too. And we hung out and spoke in February 2008 when I was with the kids in Florida for ski week. And we hung out even more when all five of her kids gathered at my mom's house in early December 2008 when she underwent surgery.
So unless I'm a six-toed cat, I can't really count on one hand the number of times I've seen him since 1987. But you get my point, right?
He is in the hospital today, his 51st birthday. It's his story to tell, really, so I'll respect that and not go into details except to say that it appears he will fare well in the end.
I don't wish him ill. I no longer harbor mounds of ill will toward him. I own up to having done so in the past, and to tightly holding onto those horrid feelings, unwilling for the longest time to let them go. If you ask me to think about my interactions with him throughout my childhood and until the death of my father, my blood pressure will rise and I can feel my pulse notching up and up and up.
He has a daughter who is just a few months older than Eldest. He has a mother he loves and a brother he loves. He has friends galore. He works hard. He has a life worth living.
I am thankful that he is alive, and I pray that he continues on for all of those reasons.