Things seem so much more important now…so much more urgent.

I’m sure you know by now that my little brother’s cancer has returned. Phil, true to form, is telling it straight with the snappy wit and stunning sense of humor he’s always been known for. He’s my brother and, honestly, the strongest person I know. He’s going to beat this. He did it before.

I should take a moment to tell you that my brother and I weren’t particularly close growing up. Honestly, we fought…hard. Most of the blame for that can be laid directly on me. I was, frankly, quite a bully to him. I can’t tell you how I’ve regretted that over the years. I’ve always wished I could go back and change things…do it all over again…but I can’t.

One thing I always did, though, was fight FOR my brother. Nobody got away with picking on him. I remember hearing a rumor that Phil got cut by another kid at summer camp. I grabbed what weapons I could find and went on a rampage through the camp to find and punish (in the most capital of terms) the poor fool who made the last and most idiotic mistake of his life. Thankfully, this rumor was untrue. Phil was fine. Turns out some kids thought it would be funny to see how I’d react. They didn’t think it was so funny later on…

On my 18th birthday a kid picked on Phil at school. I cornered the kid in the spot in the library where nobody could see us and proceeded to head-butt the kid until he went limp and fell to the floor. I was worried I would go to jail (considering that I was an ‘adult’), but the kid really should have been smarter.

Our mom always tells the story of the day Phil was brought home from the hospital right after he was born. She said I screamed, “That’s my baby!” and proceeded to give an anatomy lesson to everyone about “my baby’s fingers, toes, nose, and eyes”. Somewhere along the way I took a turn…a horrible and regrettable turn. Our fights were frequent, violent…and completely my fault. I’m so sorry.

I’ve regretted how I treated my brother for many, many years. Now my brother’s cancer is back. The prognosis isn’t good. All I wish I could do is fight this bully instead of him.