Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yesterday was a mixed blessing.

Yesterday, my youngest brother, Wayne Michael Hogan - Mike, passed away. He suffered with cerebral palsy all his life, and was 53, which I have learned is well beyond what most CP patients are expected to live. They expend four to five times more energy to do something an able-bodied person doesn't even have to think about. He had lost his ability to swallow (which happens in 20 percent of the patients), and was going to require a feeding tube. So, he won't have to suffer through that now.

He was born too soon in more than one aspect. My twin brothers were born at 6 months gestation . . . it's a miracle that they even survived. The doctors told my mother to put him in an institution and forget him. They didn't know my mother very well. We all helped at his exercises, which ultimately gave him the ability to walk. We gave him plates with peanut butter or sugar on them, to strengthen his tongue, and improve his speech.

He loved to fish, read, and watch racing on television. If he had been born a few years later, he would have benefited from all the programs that are now available to CP patients, and probably had a life of more contributions. He had a good mind, trapped in a damaged body. He made fabulous Lego creations, and he worked for one of my other brothers (a cabinet-maker) finishing wooden toys, and doing hand-rubbed finishes on custom pieces of furniture.

He had the sweetest, most gentle natured disposition, and was a terrible tease, too. He mocked all of us as we were growing up. In my junior high years for a time, one of my "fashion statements" was a headscarf and sunglasses. One day, I came home, and he came out of the bedroom with one of my headscarves on. "Madame Fifi" was born! I said Madame Fifi liked all things French . . . French couture, French movies, and especially French Fries. On my last visit to him at the hospital last week, I came into his room, and said, "They told me I would find Madame Fifi in here!" He just laughed and waved his hand at me in a "get out" gesture. We had a nice visit. He told me I look just like our mother, and gave me the most beautiful smile.

While he didn't have an opportunity to realize the full use his brain, he was the family pet . . . we all learned a lot about love from him. I'm going to miss him a lot. I wish everyone had an opportunity to feel the pure love he showered on his siblings. His illness was a burden, but he was a gift to us.

I had promised to knit him a pair of blue socks before winter, but he was gone before I even had a chance to start them. I think I will knit them anyway, and donate them to a charitable fundraiser in his memory. It will ease the sorrow, as the yarn slips through my fingers, and I can concentrate on good memories of him.

Yesterday was also my grand-daughter's twelfth birthday. She was selected to participate this week and next in "The Governor's Art Program" in Charlottesville, one of only 40 junior high students. She is the youngest in the group, and was a bit un-nerved by the whole thing the first couple days. Now, she is happy that she is participating. It will be interesting to see where this opportunity leads her. She is a talented artist and musician. My Mother had both of those talents, too. It's fun to see those talents continue through the generations.


Lisa D. said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. Your post was a wonderful tribute to him.

Jan said...

So sorry, DSIL. Didn't know he had gotten worse since we last talked. Let me know when you get home so we can talk. Good going to GD. Definitely takes after her Grandma in the artistic dept.

Lindah said...

Thank you for sharing such a loving tribute to your brother. I know you will miss him a great deal. Continuing with the plan to knit and gift the socks in his memory sounds like a healing and loving thing to do.
My SIL left us at about the same age after not being expected to see the age of 5. A very loving and loved young woman. I knew her for about 30 years. Having known her gives me a little insight into your post. Both she and your brother were blessings to family and friends and society at large. We have special memories, and I'm sure you do, too. May they bring you much comfort.

I am catching up on blog reading after having been away for a week. I noticed your flower top (Pedal to the Metal post) is beautiful. I haven't seen a design quite like that. Is a pattern available for it? I will look forward to seeing it all quilted up and bound.
Linda H

Quilts And Pieces said...

Oh Linda, I"ve been so bad trying to keep up with everything. It seems things have just been too hard to handle for me lately. I'm so sorry to hear the news about your brother.

Knitman said...

How fortunate your brother was to be born to such a family.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Sympathies on the loss of your brother xx
ell done to your Granddaughter..perhaps some of her Grandma's artistic talents too...quilting is art!
Love the flowers in previous post, Tracey