Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oh, Brother!

When you're hanging out in the hospital unable to sleep and feeling especially vulnerable and weak and a little scared, you have a lot of time and incentive to think. Deep and not so deep thoughts.

Example of "not so deep thoughts": I spent some time contemplating the fact that whenever I eat a saltine cracker, I always eat it right side up. Even in the dark, I can tell by the ever so slight upward curvature of the cracker which side is up. I also thought that it makes more sense to eat them upside down because then the salted top would be on your tongue, which seems more appealing. But no, I have to eat mine right side up. For some reason, it matters. When I told Darrel about this, he thought I was nuts. Hannah understood, of course.

Example of "deep thoughts": I thought about my brothers and how much it matters to me that I feel them "standing guard for me". As a girl, and whether it's true or not, I always felt watched over and protected by my older brothers. Reading this, they might think, "Say what??!!" Maybe they weren't paying attention to me at all. But I think they were. Not that I needed a lot of protecting, but my sense at the time was that they were watching out for me and would be there in a flash if I were to need them. And now I do feel I need them and it's a great comfort for me to feel them watching over me and even to hear their voices is very calming. Even Jack, who is younger, now feels like a capable guardian.

One of the reasons for the comfort I feel in their voices is that right now I miss my Dad very much. I have to imagine his big, warm hand over mine and his deep, soothing voice in my ear ... and his gentle, reassuring smile. And that's where my brothers come in. I see and hear our Dad somehow in all three of them.

I've always said that if there was any kind of disaster that were to threaten our lives here on earth, our best chance for survival would be with my parents. They are those resourceful, resilient people of that generation where necessity was the mother of invention. Dad and Mom are the type who, as Erin would say, could walk into the woods with a pocket knife and a q-tip and build a shopping mall. They have always been the most resourceful, creative, and capable people I know and what I realize is that all three of my brothers have those skills, too. That's comforting. Something as simple as Darrel suggesting ice to get me through the stress and discomfort of those Heprin shots made all the difference. And I know my other brothers are just as brilliant that way. Dad was. It just makes me feel safer knowing my brothers are nearby and seeing me through this. I know they have those skills even if they don't fully realize it themselves. You don't do the things any of them do without having those skills. And they're passing that way of thinking on to their kids, too. You only have to see Josh, Kathy, Graham and Allan in action to know they have some innate technical skills and the kind of nimble minds that lead to real creativity. I see it coming to life in Meghan and Dawson, too. They're a wonderful legacy to their Grandpa and Grandma Kerr.

Thanks brothers three. I'm glad Mom and Dad had all of you ... even if I had to put up with all the fat jokes and even if you did tell me I had legs like George Reed ... even if you did sit on me forever making me say "uncle" ... even if you did say the cookies I made were gross ... even if you did snoop in my room ... and even if you did hide my Partridge Family album. Even then, I always knew that you would be there if I ever really needed help. I was right.


  1. Hi Heather
    Isn't it funny how we start to veiw life when a tradgedy or illness hits us. Through out your blog, day after day, I hear in your writings how you have really stopped to smell the roses. How important the birds are, and how beautiful they sing even if their song is loud and annoying. How important family and friends are. The simple things in life become very important.
    Oh, by the way, your hair looks amazing, I love the straight look.

  2. Hey are so lucky to have such a great family by your side to support you on this journey. I hope that if I ever have to go through something similar to this that my family would be so supportive!! I know my sister would, but not so sure about my used to drive me and my friends to all the parties when we were younger so we got along back then, but he now lives far away and I don't see or hear from him much. My other brother used to pick on me till I cried, but now I think we get along pretty well. I think if I needed them they would be are soooo lucky though to have so much love around you.....
    It makes you stronger and holds you up....
    Gail W

  3. It makes me a little sad that families now are mostly smaller. How much better it is to have MORE siblings than not. I feel sorry that my 2 kids don't have more brothers and sisters, because I know now how much I need all of mine! And all their wives, who have become sisters ... and Kevin's sister and her husband ... who are like a bonus brother and sister. You just can't have too many, right Don?

    Family. Pretty BIG TIME important! And you're right Gail, they're there when you need them. Thank GOD!

  4. Hi Heather,
    Love your thoughts - deep and not so deep. . . But love your farm shoes even better!!

  5. That's funny, Laurel! As I recall, those were my "farm shoes" almost all summer. I loved going barefoot then and I still do. I remember how, in spring, I'd be stepping gingerly about in barefeet but it only took a short while before the feet were toughened up and I could run over rocks and weeds without a worry.


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