My friend Dave asked me on Saturday, "So how is your brother?"
"Well, we haven't talked for a while," I said.
It sounded and felt strange to say that. Our weekly Saturday morning phone calls have been sacrosanct for some nine years after all.
But I wrote here in early August about how the the loss of someone sometimes means other losses, or at least the need to redefine other relationships. And that is what we have been doing, my brother and I; finding a new way to be with, and to, one another.
I called him a few weeks ago and panicked when I couldn't reach him. So silly! I sent a frantic message through Face Book, to my nephew and his girlfriend, seeking reassurance that he was okay. He surfaced safely, a little bemused at my worry, having been with an old neighbour, keeping her company, out on a bench in "the close!"
We decided that we didn't have to stick to 10 o'clock on Saturdays anymore, that had been "Mum's routine." The next time we spoke we struggled a little for things to say, and then I became crazy busy for a few weeks, but it was okay. I knew that he wouldn't be waiting at 10 on Saturdays...
Dave's question prodded my heart though, and I made up my mind to call him on Sunday in spite of the fact that there would be a house full of family around the table for lunch after church.
I got up late having been up until the wee hours preparing the meal for Sunday, and left early for worship practice. When I came home though, Paul, who had left after me for church, said, "Did I tell you? Rob called after you left this morning."
Later that day, after the last of the 11dearly loved family members and the two young friends who had tagged along, left, I picked up the phone and called.
As he answered, there was a bark in the background from my favourite dog in all of England, Bruce. They were just in from their evening walk.
Apparantly Bruce the fierce is going through one of his fearful phases. He does that for several days after being frightened by a loud noise and Rob said that he was trembling still and seeking the safety of his little bed in the closet where he sleeps. Poor Bruce. He came from a farm and we don't know all that befell him before God sent him to Rob. I made Rob promise to give him a kiss from me.
I heard sad news about Shirley's little dog. Shirley and Derek are friends of Rob's in the close, and their ten year old border collie adored Rob. They always laughed at the fact that she threw herself at him! :) But they noticed that she seemed a little off colour and tests at the vet revealed a large and inoperable growth. They made the painful decision to have her life end before she began to suffer.
They have already adopted a rescue dog from the Dogs Trust, another border collie, but very shy and fearful, obviously an abused dog, which is beyond my ability to understand! He is warming to
Rob though, and I am so hoping that they will keep him.
We caught up on all sorts of things concerning our kids, our diets, and our friends, and without even saying so...we were building our path forward.