Today is my younger brother's birthday. We just talked on the phone for the past hour. Every month or two, one of us will call the other. Sometimes it doesn't amount to much. Other times, the conversation bears wonderful fruit. I never expected we would have this.
Two years ago he nearly died. So close that when my mother called to ask me about pulling him off life support I screamed and cried. I flew to Orlando a few hours later. He was in the trauma unit, with tubes of every sort running in and out of his body. They had just had him in surgery for five hours to rebuild his face. At the time, we had no idea what had happened. Turned out he had been hit by a car as a pedestrian, and left for dead on the side of the road. His face was crushed on both sides, his right leg was nearly severed. For the next three weeks my brother would live in a chemical coma while his body healed. None of us knew what damage had been done to his brain.
When he started to come around, we found out that his motor cortex had suffered damage. His right side was paralyzed. It would be over two months before he would move his arm. His leg took even longer.
Fast forward two years: He walks, runs, and takes his awesome dog with him almost everywhere he goes. Hazey is the coolest dog I have ever met. Smart beyond words. When my mother brought Hazey into the brain rehab ward to visit with my brother... that's when things started to improve. That dog made the biggest difference in his life!
So here we are. Two brothers whose lights were very nearly snuffed out. Two comas, two years, twice as much stress as any family should bear. No mother should see her child (grown or otherwise) laid out with precious little hope for survival.
But we're here.
Tonight's conversation was amazing because I heard in my brother's voice many things I have never heard before. They gave me hope and pride. I am glad to know that he's growing up and that some day he'll live the life he wants to have. I have hope that he will keep looking to his dog to teach him all the things he needs to learn. Having been raised by wolves myself, I can think of no better teacher.
Happy birthday little brother. Glad to see another year for the two of us.