The past 12 hours, my brother has had my sister-in-law, my mom and myself in a surreal laughter mixed with tears on two separate occassions. That may sound bizarre and twisted. And it is. I fully acknowledge the warped nature of laughing in the middle of this. It'd be easy to chalk it up to lack of sleep but that's not it. We're surrounded with the imminent death of our loved one and we're brought to laughter and tears in the midst of it. I don't even know if there's a word or literary device for that in the english language. If there is, I'd love to know it. The first story, I can't tell right now. I don't know if I'll ever be able to tell it here. The second I can tell but the rawness of it makes it a hard yarn to spin. But here it is.
At various points throughout the day, my brother will get an idea that he wants to go somewhere. He'll lift his arms up and start to want to get out of the bed. When we gently try to redirect his arms, he'll get frustrated with us. He wants to get up and we're not listening. Cancer? What cancer? It makes perfect sense to him in his mind. I want to get up. Get out of my way. And one point, his wife leans over him and says, "you keep fighting so hard."
"Who is he?" The three of us kind of look at each other puzzled hoping that one of us understood him.
"You. You keep fighting," she replies.
"Who is he?" Again, we look at each other. "Who is he?" I think he means it literally. "Who is he?" Who is my brother fighting? Not who, but what. Cancer.
"You. You're still fighting the cancer," she says.
"If I knew who he was, I'd fight him............I'd keep fighting him......If I knew who he was.....I'd fight and fight him. I'd keep fighting."
At that point, we all engage in some strange emotional reaction which is half laughter and half laden with tears. Even now, he's looking for some physical embodiment to his foe that he could do battle with. Emaciated, weak, drugged and he's looking for a fight.