Five years ago, a tornado roared through my home town. It destroyed one house, then ground its way between the three houses owned by my two brothers and my parents. Half of one brother's 100-year-old barn was crushed. The roof over the other brother's kitchen popped clean off like it'd been cookie cuttered. The tornado never touched Mom and Dad's house.
CHAPTERS TWO - FIVE
In the years following... my father would fall on the ice while fetching mail and end up hospitalized because he ignored the headaches for months; my mother would be diagnosed with COPD even though she'd never smoked a day in her life; we would find out later Mom also had congestive heart failure and leukemia; my sister Lily would learn she has cancer, but would never find out what kind; in the meantime, despite conquering the leukemia, Mom would suffer a very bad reaction to a new anti-depressant that would mess her up beyond repair, and she would die two months later; Lily would pass away seven months after Mom; Dad would develop kidney cancer and have surgery to remove the tumor and one kidney.
Five years of crap, y'all.
Five crappy years of crap.
Every phone call from home meant someone was in the hospital.
Just months after Dad's surgery (which he rebounded from with flying colors), I received a call from my brother.
Crap. What fresh hell would this be?
But, he wasn't calling to tell me anyone was sick.
He called to tell me he was engaged to be married.
You must understand, this brother is 52 years old. Never been married. Devoted to his family, his church, and his farm. Growing up, all his friends paired up and married off. All his friends grabbed all the available gals in our small town. There were none left for my brother.
By the time he'd turned 40, we'd become concerned he'd find anyone. And when his 50th came and went, and Mom and Lily died, he flat out lost hope.
Yet, he was on the phone telling me the full, rich story of how they met and how he proposed on the back of his tractor (really). So happy. So bubbly, this 52-year-old man.
Their wedding was this past Saturday.
I met his bride the night before. The two of them were so well suited to each other. I liked her immediately. Well, I liked her before I met her because she had made my brother so happy.
And she cemented a place in my heart during the ceremony when she locked eyes with my brother and mouthed the words to their soloist's song, "I've got all I've waited for, And I could not ask for more."
I wept many (so many) tears of joy Saturday. The joy in my brother's face. The years he had waited for those once-in-a-lifetime moments to finally happen.
We'd all been waiting, I guess.
I would tell The Husband later that it was the happiest day of my life. Our own wedding was wonderful, the births of our children were wonderful, but I had never, ever been as happy for myself as I was for my brother. The Husband understood.
Furthermore, I told The Husband that when I would blog about my brother's wedding, I was going to start with the tornado. The beginning of five really crappy years for my family.
And I would explain how it is all finally over.
Because we have this.
Let me leave you with this image:
After giving our brother and his new wife big, long hugs in the receiving line, Army Sister and I snuck back to the end of the line to do it again. When our brother spotted us, we declared that we wanted another hug. And with his arms around us both, my brother said, "A hug from Mom, and a hug from Lily?"
Oh dear God, yes. A hug from Mom, and a hug from Lily.
Monday, December 10, 2012