Friday, June 26, 2009

A Letter From Grady

Sitting on the most comfortable bed in the house, only eight years old, I knew what was going to be said to me. I could feel it, just didn't want to show it. My wonderful mom to the left of me rubbing my right shoulder and my step dad to the right of me rubbing my left shoulder, trying their best to seduce me to the grown up world for just several minutes. It worked.

Starting to talk in a nice calm voice they talked about random stories of their past to get me involved in the conversation. The words I wanted very much to hear, but scared to death to hear, then finally breached their lips. The words that made me think into the future through the good and the bad. I was going to be a big brother.

They decided not to tell me till three months after they knew, to make sure the baby was healthy. It was.

After finding out that it was going to be a boy, we scratched Lulu Louisiana off the list of names. Still not sure, we came up with about four names that could suit the little boy. Several months later I was holding my mom's Rolex, timing how long it was for the next contraction to start, then stop. Something that they will never drop for the rest of our lives happened that day…I broke the beautiful Rolex (sorry) running up the stairs while my mom was having contractions.

More importantly, my little brother was born that day. I didn't know if I should be excited or not. Is all the attention off me now?, I thought to myself. Shocked that there was another living being in the house I was scared what the rest of my childhood life would be like.

Coming home from the hospital, eating his first solid food, saying his first word, taking his first step, losing his first tooth - these are all mile markers in a little one's life. There could also be bad mile markers. Breaking a first bone, getting in his first fight, having to go in and out of a hospital for over a year. These are bad mile markers, but they are mile markers.

Having a brother that is nine years younger than you but still looks at you as if you are his age is one of the best feelings ever. 'Grady, can we please play some football on your bed? It's so fun. Or even some cabbage ball maybe, I just want to play.'

Hearing those words makes me feel important and a big influence. Sometimes I could be a bad influence but I try not to…. It's hard. Having a little buddy running by my side everywhere I go is amazing.

This all started May 17 2008, getting reading to go to Malo for an exciting night in the upstairs party room for Jeff's birthday dinner.

'Jo Ann! Come here!' Jeff screamed from the bathroom. 'What is this on Pablo's right side?'

'I don't know,' she responded. 'Should we take him to the doctor?'

Jeff and Pablo were in the tub when the 'bump' was discovered for the first time. After almost falling through a hole in the floor at Malo, it was decided that Pablo was to go to the hospital. I went home with Polly and sat by the phone. After many hours in the late hours of the night my mom called with a tone in her voice that sent shivers down my back when I heard her first word. She said Pablo has a tumor and...I didn't hear the rest. I threw the phone into the pillows and picked up my backpack in an attempt to swing it over my head and slam it onto my bed. Since gravity exists, the bag hit my head and made me five times more mad.

Needed to talk to somebody just to let it all out. I called my best friend, who I've known since kindergarten, Julio. I vented out to him over the phone in the backyard for almost an hour. I went inside and just cried and all these memories came through my head and made me cry more. I finally cried myself to sleep and that life-altering day came to an end for me.

Planning out the next six months of chemotherapy I didn't know what to think. Were those days of having fun over? Was I going to be lonely again? Was he going to be laid up in a bed? NO, NO and NO. There were some minor schedule setbacks in the FBF league (Fun Bedroom Football) but the games still continued. Until he wasn't allowed to play rough any more. The letters FBF stood no more. Pablo still came into my room trying to resurface the league but every time we got caught by the higher authority of the parents.

After some setbacks and some horrible news and some extremely good news then some more bad news and some good news and then some bad news and some ok news, at some point the good news comes in less often and with less impact. Then what? You're out of options? Feeling hopeless? Feeling like you can do more but don't know what to do? YES, YES and YES.

That is what is going on right now. The questions What does that mean? What now? And just plain out, Why? are running through our heads at every moment. We are trying to think.

Nothing but blanks are coming up. I don't know what to say. I never thought this far ahead into the future when the idea of having a little brother came into play. 90% of the time I'm with Pablo I'm smiling. In the last year 60% of the time I talk about Pablo I'm smiling.

I love the little boy so much and I hope this pain goes away.

36 comments:

Maria said...

Beautiful letter, Grady. Thank you for writing it. I love you and am thinking of you and Pablo and Joann and Jeff. I am praying for all of you. I love you so much. . .

Jules said...

You all are an amazing family and you Grady, are the absolute best big brother a kid could ask for. Pablo is lucky in that he never has to doubt or wonder how loved he is - it's quite obvious to us all.

Kerry Zeka said...

Utterly amazing! Tears are flowing down my face! Beyond beautiful! Thank you, Grady, for honestly and poetically opening your heart for all. We can't say we feel your pain, because no one else but Pablo's brother can feel that pain. But we are on this rollercoaster ride with you and wish more than anything we could stop it and get off! Just know you are being prayed for, thought of, and loved on as well! Peace be with you!!!

Anonymous said...

grady, you are an incredible big brother. pablo is so lucky to have you. thank you for this post it is beautiful.

i am praying for all of you...
j

Heather said...

Two beautiful boys.Two beautiful brothers.A bond that cannot and will not be broken.Through space and time that bond will remain.Intact,always.Sending you strength for your journey Grady.

Anonymous said...

Many, many prayer go out to all of your family.
Grady, You are a wonderful big brother. It's so clear to see how much love runs through your family. And in the end, that's what it's all about. I don't know you, but have been following you all on this journey for about a year. What a rollercoaster! Sending all my strength your way. I wish you all peace.

kappa said...

that was beautiful grady
p is a lucky boy to have you as his big brother
i am with you and your family in spirit -
i send much love to all

Elizabeth said...

I was so touched by your beautiful heartfelt letter. I''m so sorry you're going through so much pain. No words can make what you are going through better, but know you are in people's thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

You are the best big brother Pablo could have every wished for. YOu express your feelings so well and we can all feel your love for your little brother. My daughter is 8 years older than her little brother and I see that special bond that they have. Our whole family is throwing out prayers to you and your family.

Debbie (NOLA)

Dawn: said...

Grady, wow, that's an amazing post. I'm sure you are never anything less than a hero in Pablo's eyes; he's so lucky to have you in his life. Stay strong; you are a WARRIOR.

LYNN said...

Brothers forever...

John Piersol said...

Grady,
Your maturity and insight and heartfelt love for your brother are so deeply touching. You and Pablo are forever bonded with a special bond that only you two understand. I'm deeply, deeply sorry for what you are facing. My prayers are with you all. Hold each other close.
Laura

patricia said...

Stay strong Grady. You have already given Pablo the greatest gift ever , of your brotherly love. Keep loving him and never forget he will always be your little brother, whether here on Earth on in Heaven. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart in this letter. Walk through this heartbreaking journey with your head held high for you have been the very best big brother to him. xo

clare crespo said...

a HUGE GIANT ENORMOUS hug to you, Grady. You are the best big brother. Love, Clare

Steve said...

Grady, hold fast, your strength is awe inspiring. I'm praying for you all.

Lisa Hickey said...

Dear Grady,

You are the most amazing big brother. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. It must have been very difficult to express them. I hope it allows you some peace and healing. You are extremely brave! Pablo is an amazing little boy, who is a part of an amazing, loving family. Even in this time of tremendous sadness and heartache, you are both lucky kids to have each other and to have your parents. Hold on to that. That love and bond will never leave you. I wish the outcome had been different for your family. I hope the words of someone you don’t even know can bring you and your family comfort at this time. There are so many people pulling, praying, sending love and good thoughts Pablo’s way, every day. That won’t stop. You are all in our hearts forever. Much love!

Nora said...

Grady, I haven't seen you since you were Pablo's age and am positively awestruck by the person you have become. You are so strong and brave and loving, and such a wonderful big brother. Thank you for sharing this.

Tish Hearne said...

Incredibly written... Your letter is beautifully heartfelt and real. Thank you for sharing your insightful words with us, Grady. You have a heart of gold and it's no wonder Pablo adores you.

Our hearts are aching. May God continue to carry you through... We're with you in prayer for peace and strength during this excruciatingly difficult time.

The Hearnes
xxoo

E. Bachner said...

Grady, your honesty and ability to name what you are feeling is beautiful - even when the feelings are less than pleasant. Pablo chose well when he chose you for an older brother. I wish you much grace and support through the next phase of your journey with your little football partner!

All the best. elizabeth (we met at MIA at coachella)

Sara said...

Dearest Grady,

We are holding you and your family in our hearts and thoughts. Please know you are not alone during this very difficult time.

Love,
Sara, Nick, Simon & Cheyenne

P.S. FBF forever!

itoldyouyoudforgetme said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Beautiful. You are an amazing brother.
xo
-suz

Les Popoviches said...

What a wonderful, articulate and deeply loving post Grady. Thank you so much for sharing all this. Pablo couldn't have asked for a more wonderful brother and your 3 parents, a more loving son.

Much love Grady,
The Popoviches

Kevin said...

Grady,
There are few things more awesome for a little boy than a big brother. Especially a loving one like you. You can take turns being each others angels now and forever. Thank you for sharing with us all your sweet thoughts on Pablo. You are both so lucky to have each other and such amazing parents. Our hearts are with you. xox

est1980 said...

G-Man:

Dude. I remember I first met you when you were about 8 or 9 years old and I had just started with for Jeff. Remember you running around our office, jumping on the couch and hiding pizza boxes under it for him to find weeks later. It's safe to say, that after reading your letter, you have grown into quite a young man, and I am truly impressed. Impressed by your words, your strength and your courage. I am an older brother myself. Feel like I have been one my entire life, thought I knew everything there was to know, but you have just taught me so much - about being a brother and a friend. Through all of this uncertainty, it is so amazing for Pablo to have known for sure all along, how you feel about him. Thank you for opening yourself to us. With admiration, Grant.

JONJON said...

Grady, Jeff and Jo Ann,
There are no words for the way that I think you all feel at this time. Because I cannot find the words to tell you how I feel. Grady, you are an awesome brother and Pablo is lucky to have you. Jo Ann and Jeff, you have been a symbol of strength and courage throughout this horrible tragedy. Please stay strong. My thoughts and love are with you !!!
JON

Ray said...

you're a great big brother Grady.

Anonymous said...

Grady - I have watched you grow up and am so proud of what an amazing brother you are & a special human. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts - they so beautiful to read - xo Allison

Anonymous said...

Grady,
your bond with Pablo cannot and will not be broken.
believe in this...

chad said...

stay strong Grady and remember, you WILL ALWAYS be Pablo's big brother

Anonymous said...

We love you Grady. Pablo is a lucky brother!
XX,
Stephanie, Pete, Baby Charlotte, Oona, Roddy and Josephine

Anonymous said...

Grady, what a beautiful tribute of your love for Pablo. I am so sorry that you are in so much pain. I wish that I could put a bandaid on it, kiss your head, and tell you that it will soon be fine as i did when you were in kindergarten. But, sadly, this isn't like that. Remember always that Pablo chose you in particular to be his big brother for so many reasons, and he will never stop being your little brother. Brotherly love transcends space and time. Love is the essence of being, and I know he feels your love deeply. You are in my prayers and thoughts. Love, Ms. Rinden

Kritter Krit said...

I came across your blog...well, actually, I'm not even totally sure how I came across your blog. I just want to say a few things:

~That was one of the most beautifully expressed, profoundly moving, AMAZING things I've ever had the privilege of reading.

~It is obvious, even to a stranger, the love you feel for and strength you gave your little brother. Heck, I feel stronger taking on the challenges I face today just having read your words.

~I'm so sorry for your loss. Time will never diminish the pain, but it will make it more bearable as you wrap your memories tight around you and wear them like a shield.

Thank you for sharing a glimpse into such a rare and precious relationship. I will be thinking of you and praying for you often now. Without a doubt, you have made an indelible impression on my heart.

Kristy

Anonymous said...

Grady- You are an inspiration. Reading your letter has been a pleasure I will never forget and something I cried all the way through. You have made me a better man for it and I am confident your impact on your family has made them fulfilled beyond words. I am so proud of you...

Uncle Rob

Anonymous said...

Grady.
I know this is a late comment to your post but it just touched me so much. My sister is 9 years older than me too, and over the past three years i have been struggling with lymphoma cancer, and although we didn't exactly have the football activity we liked to go cycling and swimming, and i read that and then i rang my sister and read it all out to her over the phone, by the end i sear, we have never cried so much, simply because it's so beautiful and hard to see what you have gone through especially being on the other side of these terrible diseases. I hope you can continue to vent your wonderful words unlike me you obviously have a very intelligent tongue and you are able to write down your thoughts. I find myself bottling them up and whenever i do vent them, it is always in the form of art.

Thank you so much.
Annie.
[16, london. :)]

haejung said...

that was a wonderful letter. thank you to you and your whole family for writing your thoughts as you're going through this gut-wrenching experience. I am so sorry for your loss. I will definitely pray for you.