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Sunday, October 5, 2008

And Another Thing

One thing I know I'm pretty good at is giving support. I do my best to help people who need a hand, or a shove, to get through or get things done. I'll listen and commiserate, give suggestions where needed, just be a sounding board, ask beyond the particular problem how the person's doing, yada yada.

But it seems that when you're one who supports, nobody thinks you need any.

This is a repetitive theme in my life. I often get other people's messes to clean up, or somebody dies and it all ends up in my lap. Everyone comes to me when they're hurting over something, when they're losing, when they can't cope. And I never turn my back. I can't. It makes me happy to help somebody. But it seems I don't get much back-up in life from those I need to give it.

This is all really about my brothers. I have two left. Both older (60 and 58). The 60 year old just had open heart and is recuperating very slowly, at home now. He has COPD and diabetes, so healing is a long process. The 58 yr old just got the news that his docs think he has a blood cancer. Not lymphoma, but leukemia or multiple myeloma. We won't know for sure until the marrow biopsy on the 22nd. But he's pretty convinced it's myeloma, and after looking at the symptoms, I have to say they're all there. Myeloma is a short-term death sentence.

We three are all that's left of "our family". There are cousins but we're not close, there are nephews and nieces and grands. But Billy and Tommy and I are the only ones who have the memories now. And the non-immediate family doesn't seem to care.

At 50, I'm the on the front line in my family, and will probably be the last to go. I really, really, don't like that prospect. I already have too many memories that nobody else living shares. Before my "little brother", Seth, died, we'd counted up the deaths we'd been through. It was 54, then. My count now is 58. I've had enough.

But beyond that, I wish those who can take support would give it.