What my big brother said. And to me he’ll always be my big brother, looking out for me.

Dear Russ,
It was wonderful to see you last night, I only wish we lived closer so that it could be more often.
Brothers (and I’m sure sisters too) have a genetic, almost psychic bond. When we look at one another, we see beyond the external facade. We pick up on small details; the subtle facial expression, the eye and mouth synchronization, the difference between what you want us to see versus what we really see.
When you wrote in yesterday’s blog you saw the anguish in mine and Stuart’s faces, you were right. That anguish is real and it’s because we can see the despair behind your brave smiles.
I appreciate the need for us all to remain positive, but the reality is we simply can’t comprehend what you must be going through.
As I look at it, you have come through the first phase of your recovery, which is the relief of surviving the accident, the fact you are still alive (when frankly 9 out of 10 people in the same condition would not be). To me it seems you are now in a different phase, which is trying to figure out and come to terms with what kind of life will you lead going forward.
We talk about the good old days, the laughs, the scrapes and the near misses we experienced growing up. We are looking through the rear view mirror, trying to distract ourselves about what happens next, because in truth we don’t really know. I think this is the fear and uncertainty I see in you.
When we were growing up, as I’m sure is natural between brothers in particular, we competed with each other, on almost every level! Who was the faster, who was stronger, who could get the prettier girlfriend, who could buy the better car, it was never ending. This competitiveness was sometimes healthy and sometimes destructive. At times we were the best of friends and at other times we couldn’t stand each other.
As we got older this competitiveness subsided….a bit. But it did resurrect itself from time to time. For example, even as recently as 7 or 8 years ago, for all the wrong reasons you and I had an actual fist fight at a party! (What was I thinking, you could have flattened me!).
Your accident changed everything.
The first time I felt unconditional love, was when Nadia and I became parents. The wave of deep, instinctive love that overwhelms a parent when they first see their new born child.
I feel that way when I look at you now. It’s bizarre and it brings me to tears just thinking about it. Stuart and I are so grateful you are still with us, you can do no wrong in our eyes and we will always be here to support and help you.
I’m sharing this with you because I can sense your despair and fear in what has happened to you. But you should know that’s it’s ok to feel the way you do. This phase will pass Russ and as your brother, I am asking you to try to be patient. Try to overcome your natural sense of urgency and frustration at the time it’s taking for you to gain back your independence. You may have lost half of your body, but you are still twice the man.
Hang in there brother,
Unconditionally yours,

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