Wednesday, January 30, 2008

He's My Brother — John William Hickey

click here for Full Size imageThis morning I got the sad and unexpected news that my brother, John William Hickey, has been hospitalized and diagnosed with liver and kidney cancer which is advanced enough that it appears to be untreatable. After getting the news I rushed to my computer to see if there was any eMail from our sister, Nanci, and found that she'd sent the picture on the right (before the news about Johnny). It struck me as a foreshadow of exactly what I expect Nanci and I to be doing over the next days, weeks, or months: reaching out to our brother so that he knows we're with him, supporting him in love, praying for him to have what he always wanted: to come, to go, and to leave — to fully live his life — on his own terms.

click here for Full Size imageWhat more can I say?

I'm in pain — deep sadness over the anticipated loss — with a myriad of confusing, mixed feelings. For now I'm not going to say anything more other than to include a not-so-recent picture — a real picture of the three of us — from Johnny and my birthdays in July 2004.

The other foreshadow that comes to mind is from my posting of just two days ago... with a background of the ethereal voices from the Libera boys choir, the "Elderly Father to Son" video reads: "If ever I do not want to eat, do not force me. I know well when I need to and when not. And when some day I say to you that I do not want to live any more... that I want to die... do not get angry; some day you will understand". Yes, indeed. Life will never be the same after my Mom's dying weeks in the summer of 2000; I do understand. So does my sister; see Nanci's blog about Johnny. And see also the YouTube clip of Libera singing "Far away" — that haunting melody, the source of the "Elderly Father to Son" soundtrack.

3 comments:

Roy Harkow said...

My heart goes out to you, Nancy, Johnny, and your families.

I hope your visit is truly rewarding and that you will experience closeness that will stay with you always.

Love,
Roy

leta721 said...

Thanks for sharing with me this terrible state of affairs for Johnny and for you and Nanci. So, so, sad! You can read the posting I put onto Nanci's blog for alot of my thoughts about Johnny's misfortune. I know you feel deeply about this. Death is so life altering!It's also our wakeup call. It is inevitable that we all will die - just don't know when! Figuring out what to do with ourselves until then is our ONLY job in life, really. It's a job that has no job description and so most of us just muddle thru. Aren't we lucky that we found the power of personal growth long ago and have been trying to live a better life, year by year. Johnny's life didn't include that perspective. Yet, he lived it just like we do - day by day. I'm coming around more and more that my life is all about my life priorities. I need to get my arms around this and live it. I'm sure there are always regrets, but we do have the power to minimize these, I think. Life is never long enough. However, it is the way it goes for living organisms. We come into this world and we go out. It's very simple, very clear. What we don't get is a rulebook to live between those points. It truly is an individual choice. None of us have the right or only or best way. Maybe that is the point - it is our choice. There's lots to be grateful for in Johnny's life. He had Karina and did his best with her. He found a life with Lorraine who seems to have been very good for him and took good care of him. He's lived in a place he's wanted to for recent years. Let us hope he feels that he's had quality in his lifetime. I'm glad you are going to see him next week with Nanci. Must feel awful to know you are going to say goodbye! Can't imagine having to do that. I hope you all will share your loss and sadness and other feelings - don't just make it as happy as you can. Bring in all the joy you can, but share the loss. It would be nice if you could do a "while he's away" box with and for him. While you are visiting, write everything down that all of you want to remember on little cards and drop them in the box. Ask him every question you ever wanted to know and think hard between now and then about what you want to know about him. Share with him every secret you can think of about your self relating to him so he has all the answers, too. Create one sign or symbol that all of you agree on will be your cues after he's gone to stop and think of him. Love him with all your heart and soul so he knows he's not alone at this time. These are the journeys no one else can make or really share - it's yours to endure; it is ours to be there for you! Love you dearly. Please let Johhny know that he has a special place in my heart for the time he and I shared. I enjoyed our time and always remember it with good feelings. I'm here for you - just call! Let's talk before you go to visit him.

FrankNFamily said...

Bets wishes from the Pache family Wiesbaden, Germany.