Rob and I have shared so much in our lives; the same womb (at different times) for starters; and then in four of the homes I lived in during my childhood, he was there. We had the same parents; large extended family, and a small but precious circle of family friends.
His experience of it all though, was much harder than mine. Being a son, he bore the brunt of some of the dysfunction we lived with. He was hurt at home, and at school too; where he was a target until he grew big and strong enough to be scary, pumping iron to put on muscle.
And he lived on in our parents' home long after I left for a happier life; a home torn apart by unhappiness, and hurt fuelled by alcohol.
Apart from so much in common, the reasons we turned out differently are not so hard to figure out, but we are bound together forever by a strong and deep bond of love.
Today it's Saturday. I'm calling and he answers the phone. Soon we are joined on the other line by Mum and the three of us share our week since last Saturday.
He tells me that Dr. Potter made a house call to check on Mum this week for a fungal infection. The doctor commented on how well Mum is looking. Rob gave the carers a chance this week to treat the infection, but that they weren't successful and now, he says with resolve, he is taking over. He told the doctor what he was doing and Dr. Potter said, "That's exactly the treatment I would prescribe."
We talk dogs (we do this endlessly because we both adore them;) children ("Being in a relationship is so good for him" he says of one son); carers ("If they're nice to Mum that's all I ask,") X Factor and the latest celebrity news.
He is content in his life at 58. He says, "I am sitting with a warm muzzle on my knee; a new car outside; a healthy mother and sunshine streaming through the window. What more could I ask?"
I have a brother I love dearly, whose care has made all the difference in the world for Mum. And I am so grateful for him.