Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It was mid February and we received a call that my brother was not doing well and that he was hospitalized. We had received these calls many times within the past seventeen years, but this time something seemed different - there was a heightened sense of urgency from his wife. For the past seventeen years my brother had lived with Systemic Scleroderma (also called Connective Tissue Disorder) and seemed to have exhibit every symptom that goes along with the disease. It started with collapsed lungs, and progressed to arthritis, foot pain, weight loss, shortness of breath, and most recently extraction of the teeth. His wife was versed on the disease and knew his numbers and how well he was or wasn't doing.

As usual, once we received the call we worried inwardly, but prayed outwardly. In this instance he was exhibiting shortness of breath but it wasn't noticeable to anyone since he was already on an oxygen tank. During a regular doctor's visit, the doctor picked up on it and from there after visiting another doctor it was determined that he should be hospitalized.

Soon after, we received another call where he had suffered a seizure and was in intensive care.

At this point, something in my spirit told me that this might be it.

Within our family, my husband decided that he would go down to visit especially if this was the last time he would see him alive. Approximately ten years ago, we got a similar call from a cousin who was in the final stages of colon cancer and we knew at that instant he was on his last legs; my husband made the decision to visit him and talk with him before he died. He passed soon after. This call felt just like that call ten years ago. My husband and my brother were very close and I was OK with him spending the time with him and representing me.

My brother had a lot of time to think while living with this illness, and knew how he wanted to die when it was his time to go and had conversations alluding to what he would want. My husband was able to see my brother, pray and spend time with him and be a support for his wife and children. As his wife said to me afterwards, "Thanks for lending him to me."

My brother passed over from this life to heaven on March 5th, and even though I was expecting it, I was caught off guard. I literally felt like I had been struck in the chest with a brick; I could not breathe momentarily.

I guess that's the point - even though death is imminent, it still catches those who remain off guard.

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