Today is my brother’s birthday.
That means it’s my birthday too.
My name is Taylor.
My brother’s name is Lawrence.
I am nine years old today.
My brother would have been nine today too.
And so it was, a little less than a month after our birthdays last year, my brother wrote this…
My papa and I went on a long hike yesterday morning. And I played, but I carried my brother in my heart.
I really miss my brother.
My dad left for Detroit for the Giants/Lions game.
My name is Lawrence. And this is my story. I have a brother named Taylor. Though he isn’t necessarily the most stand-up of guys, we were named for one of the all-time greatest football players.
The last few days were so amazing. I got to spend it with my mom and her brother and her sister, my new uncle and auntie. I promised my dad that I would stay strong for my mom, and I would be good for my mom, and watch over my mom. Cos I loved her. The moment she met my dad all those years ago, I knew they would be together. Back then it was just my brother and I and our dad. He’s the toughest guy I know, and in so many ways reminds me of my grandpa, his dad. But he’s a really kind and caring guy too. We live in a tough neighborhood, where being tough is the way. And the way is hard. But no one ever minded my dad, he could whoop them all. And if he ever needed back up, my brother and I would come in a heartbeat. You see, when the three of us walked the streets, no one could touch us. People respected my dad.
“Whassup my nigga! What’s goon’ on, George!!!??!!”
And then they’d look at us – me and my brother.
“Lawrence!!l” looking at me.
Yo! You both yoked out!!”
We were big. And we were tough. No one messed with me, my brother and our dad.
And then my mother came into our lives. I loved her the moment I met her. And so did my brother. She was really sweet. So unbelievably kind. And so caring. She took care of us like we were her very own. And even though our dad can seem quiet and guarded, we knew he loved her. I was there the moment my dad proposed to my mom. And I was there to lick her salty tears of joy after saying yes. Those were some really happy times.
Unfortunately that didn’t last. You see, as all brothers are want to do at some point in their lives, my brother and I started getting under each other’s skin. It got really bad. I remember hearing my dad tell me that about my Uncle Cecil when they were living with each other with their kids Kalib and Jackyboy (and later Foster). While they made it work and even became really close friends also, we just couldn’t. And so one day, I said goodbye to my brother. He went to live with my uncle Cecil. I saw him once after that and it didn’t go well. We just had too much history between us. I loved him; but I never wanted to see him again. My dad told me Taylor loved my uncle and loved living with him. They moved to California a year and a half ago. I think my parents miss my brother. As they should.
And so it was…
My dad left for Detroit.
I told my dad before he left that I would be strong. I would protect my mother. My dad was leaving to watch our favourite team – The New York Football Giants – play the Detroit Lions. He was going with his buddy – Uncle Big Country, who was a big Lions fan.
And so I stayed strong. It really was a wonderful feeling being with my mom. I loved our alone time. I loved watching the Bears game with her and her brother & sister. And while I’m a Giants fan thru and thru, I’ll say Bear Down to anyone and everyone, and if you diss the Bears, you will have to answer to me.
But it was also so hard. I had gone thru five rounds of chemo. And I tried to be strong for my folks. I tried so hard. I’m a warrior. I know I am. Like my dad. Like my brother. It’s in our blood. And I had to be a warrior one last time.
And then my dad came back. When I saw him, I literally leapt out of my heart. He was the center of my world. I jumped into his arms. And then had nothing left. Over the next few days, I had a hard time getting up. My dad carried me down and up four flights of stairs to go to the bathroom. I weigh over 110 lbs. my dad is the strongest guy I know, but I know that was not easy. I was hurting. It was time.
I lasted a few more days. I even heard my dad talk to my uncle, Taylor’s stepdad. I could tell he was so proud of me. I could hear the love in his voice. I could hear that Uncle Cecil loved Taylor so much. As he loved me.
Soon after that Uncle Derek visited Uncle Cecil in California. They watched the sun rise over the Golden Gate Bridge with my brother. Taylor had a perfect day. Knowing that, I knew it was time to leave. My mom and dad put me out of my pain. And sent the people we love these words….
“9/10/06 – 10/4/14
We had to put our beloved Lawrence down today. He fought and fought like the true warrior that he has always been but the cancer spread violently to his spine rendering him paralyzed from the waste down. The most heartbreaking thing I ever witnessed and we will never ever let our boy suffer. He died in our arms this morning at 9a. We are so so sad right now but thankful to God for bringing Lawreo into our lives. We Love and Miss our boy so much.
George & Kathleen”
I will always love my mom and dad with all my heart. But now I play in puppy heaven, looking down on them, playing with Kalib and Jackyboy and Foster and Mason. I will always watch over the two best people I have ever known – my parents George – the toughest and most loving man I know – and Kathleen – the kindest and most loving woman I know.
Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.
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ALWAYS BE EPIC