Fred & George

The two men sat quietly ,hands clasped tightly .The elder holding on to the younger as if to try to gain strength and energy from him. The younger hoping to impart healing strength to his older brother as he lay in the hospital bed gasping for air.

The two men had seen their share of trouble . They were both rough and tumble sort of men hard working , quick to fight and very seldom showing any emotion. I think that with age comes wisdom and the knowledge of what's really important in life. These two brothers ,now aged knew the importance of family, love and commitment.

I stood back spell bound as I watched my Dad and my uncle communicating a love so great that words were not needed .I looked down at their hands clasped together so tight ,both were weathered and worn with age ,Dad seventy five his brother seventy eight. I thought about their relationship . Dad although the younger, had always taken care of his older brother . When they were children Dad always kept Jr. Out of trouble and looked out for him .He made sure he had a place to live , food and often times uncle Jr. Lived with us. It seemed appropriate some how that as they were in childhood they would be in death.

Uncle Jr. Had been battling emphysema for years and had several bouts with critical illness .At every crossroads and crisis you would find my Dad by his side telling him that he was going to make it that they would get through this. That they were tough and came from tough stock. I watched this display of tenderness my Dads gray head bent close to my uncle. His hand gently caressing his brothers hand telling him once again as he had all his life that it was going to be OK .That together they could beat this and work it out." I don't know Freddie" Jr. Replied." I don't know about this time."

"This time ",turned out to be the last battle they would fight together . Uncle Jr was hospitalized and then when no more could be done he was sent to the nursing home on hospice. Still He and Dad continued the fight . When uncle Jr was too weak to ring for the nurse dad would do it, when he couldn't eat or get dressed Dad helped him .Dad brought special treats for him to try to coax the frail man into taking nourishment.

Hospice encouraged us all to let uncle Jr know we loved him and it was OK to take that next step in the journey of life to the other side. Dad could not do that . " I can't tell him its OK to die he'll know when its time "Dad said to me."Untill then I will go see him everyday and do what I can to make the last days of his life good," He said.

Turns out Dad was right . Just as the book of ecclesiastics says to everything there is a season , a time to live and a time to die . And uncle Jr. Knew when it was his time. He died peacefully in his sleep slipping from this life to the next so quickly we almost couldn't believe it happened.

As our family prepared for my uncles funeral I realized that I had been privileged to witness one of the greatest love stories I had ever seen. No, not the same love that a man has for a woman or a mother for a child , but the love of two brothers ,faithful friends sharing together through all the ups and downs and trails and tribulations of life. I saw through there relationship that love does not end. That neither time nor place ,nor circumstance can stop true love.

I firmly believe in my heart when the time and season comes for my Dad to to take that next step in his journey to the other side that his brother Jr. Will be reaching his hand, grasping my Dads and they will be together once more.

So it was on a windy spring afternoon on the Colorado prairie I watched as my Dad said goodbye to his brother ,confidant and best friend . Dad knowing that for now the fight was over ,his brother at peace, patiently waiting for the next time they would see each other.

Deborah Stearns [email protected]

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