"You realize that he gave you a gift, right?" my wife asked of me. "You learned more about being a doctor from him than any training could provide. You do know that, don't you?"
"I know. I've thought a lot about that already. A lot." I had already run the concept by my dad. He didn't like the word 'gift'.
"Josh didn't give it as a gift. He didn't want cancer. He didn't make a conscious decision to make this available to you. You had a choice and you made it," was my dad's response.
"Yeah, but he allowed me to do it. He didn't have to. It had to be hard to have his little brother knowing every single bodily function about him. He didn't have to do that so he made a choice, too. Maybe gift is not the right word. I don't what the right word is, either. Opportunity sounds close but upon examination is soooo far away. That kinda bothers me that I can't come up with a word for it."
"But it wasn't a gift."
"I do know that when I was pouring out my heart to him, I thanked him for allowing me to walk with him. Because the fact of the matter is I did learn enormously about being a doctor from this experience. My future patients will absolutely benefit from that. So gratitude was involved which is usually the result of a gift. But you're right. Gift isn't the right word."
So what do I call it? What did my brother bestow upon me? Something occurred. It seems a strange twisted world in which such depths of pain are required for something akin to a gift to occur. Did I have to open Pandora's box in order to learn hope? Why does it require tragedy to move us so?