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Missing a brother, a friend

POSTED: January 27, 2010 4:00 a.m.

In some ways, we were just alike. In others, we were direct opposites.

  

But you didn’t need a DNA test to know that we were cut from the same cloth.

  

Mine was a bit wider and his was a tad longer.

  

I was the promoter and on several occasions, he was the subject of my promotional efforts.

  

We were born brothers, but we became each other’s defender, cheerleader, comforter and friend.

  

It was two years ago this week that my brother, Dixon, left this world and I’ve never missed anyone more.

  

My dad spent his life fighting a battle against a rare form of anemia that could make a common cold evolve into a life-threatening ailment.

  

We spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms. We understood that we had to be strong for Mama. Her admonishment to “be good” had a whole different meaning for us.

  

It was a family where love was what held us together. Life was fragile and we were there for each other. I guess that’s why I miss him so much.

  

He became an accomplished horseback rider, I was his public relations agent.

  

When he won, I made sure pictures made it in the paper.

  

I became fascinated with the media and he drove me for my first job interview at 15. Not content to sit in the car while I tried out for a radio announcer job, he went in and vouched for me. I got the job.

  

Looking back it was a series of events with one being there for the other. If one of us was falling, the other would be there to catch. It was a brotherly safety net.

  

We were not without our challenging moments. We were, after all, brothers and there was the occasional brotherly dust-up.

  

When the woman who is now my sister-in-law went on a post-high school trip to Europe, I was unmercifully kidding him about how much he missed her. I think that was the last time we actually engaged in a real brotherly fight.

  

Saying goodbye to both of our parents was not easy, but we supported each other through it all. One of my treasured memories was eating cookies and drinking milk together during that long, agonizing time before our mother died. It was one of our most frank and honest talks about life.

  

Then came that day, nearly four years ago, when he called to tell me about these crazy headaches and double vision he was having. He was going to the doctor the next day, but was sure everything would be fine. It wasn’t. The diagnosis of a brain tumor would change our world forever.

  

The first year brought us great hope. The second brought disappointment and despair.

  

I take great comfort that his suffering is over and that we shared a common belief that this life is just the first chapter.

  

But God, the one who I rely on for comfort, knows I miss him. I’ve cried the whole time I’ve been writing this.

  

Later this year, I’ll enter the second half-century of this life without that safety net that I had for most of the first half. I wish it wasn’t that way.

 

Harris Blackwood is the author of “When Old Mowers Die.” His e-mail address is harrisblackwood@gmail.com.

 

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