Thursday, June 11, 2015

He Ain't Heavy

When I was in New York in February, I spoke with the manager and assistant manager at AHRC's Brooklyn Apartments — the organization that manages my brother's group home/independent-living apartment. (Check out AHRC here.) For more than 20 years, AHRC have enabled The Kid Brother to have a life we never imagined. And that has allowed me to live a life I never imagined.


Anyway, after our first conversation, the assistant manager, Tairiq, took The Kid Brother to buy an iPad and last night I was made joyful by a surprise FaceTime call.

Years back, I would sometimes wonder if I truly loved my brother or if I simply felt responsible for him. My reaction to seeing him last night is further proof that this is love. This is definitely love.

I'D FACETIME WITH THAT FACE ANY TIME!
(AND THERE I AM REFLECTED IN THE KID BROTHER'S EYES... WELL, HIS GLASSES.)

He's my brother...

36 comments:

  1. How very nice and touching. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Laurent:
      Thanks for reading. I can't stop looking at that screenshot. Was so disappointed when he didn't call again yesterday or today. I wouldn't mind being regularly surprised.

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    1. Michael:
      It's so nice when no thought is needed. I saw his face and simply felt. My mother was elated when she saw this, as well.

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  3. Yesterday you made me spit-take, today you're making me cry.
    What a sweet story!

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    1. Bob:
      I'll try to make you spit-take more often.

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    1. Judy:
      Truly. He -- and my feelings -- took me by surprise.

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  5. A good example of technology bringing people closer instead of isolating them. Is it easier for the Kid Brother to look at you through the computer than in person?
    You rocking those shades in the photo ...

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    1. Wilma:
      Weren't those shades hilarious?!? I'm sure I thought I looked so suave. They'd STILL be too big for my face.

      Ever since my mother got her computer, email, and Skype our long-distance relationship has been transformed. This makes it even better.

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  6. How wonderful that your lives worked out so beautifully that you could both be your individual selves!

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    1. Ms Sparrow:
      It really is incredible. All of our lives have been enriched.

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  7. Delightful, Mitchell.....I'm sure you love him dearly from those old pictures.

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    1. Linda:
      I DO love him and I forgive him all those fat lips and bumps on he head he gave me over the years.

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  8. You can see the love in his eyes and yours, indeed!

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    1. Ron:
      He's amazing with technology, learns so quickly. He was so proud of himself that night. Also, he got to see his pals the cats who come running when they hear his voice (thinking they're going to get another treat).

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  9. Funny how events like this can reinforce one's love, Mitchell. Sometimes it just has to be spelled out, eh?
    This was very moving as a reader. Can only imagine how it was for you and the 'kid brother'.
    How fortunate for your brother to have been able to live independently for so long. I spent a good amount of time in my career getting 'kid brothers' ready to live away from their families. this is very heart-warming.
    ps....that bottom right pic of you I thought it was a photo of me! Seriously I was confused for a second. I will find one when I was 11 or 12 and send it. Weird, I tell ya!!

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    1. Jim:
      I find it touching that we resembled each other so much in childhood. Does that mean I'll look as good as you when I'm your age? (42 isn't it?) Chuck is now 55. We were grateful to get him placed in a group home when he was 27, just a month before my father died. It wasn't the right fit (he was much too high functioning), but it got him in the system and he was moved into his current apartment a few years later. Life has never been the same. Thank god!

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    2. This post made me smile so much. How great that technology can bring you together and you can feel good about the life he's living. And...LOVE the plaid jackets and the sunglasses!

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    3. Michelle:
      I don't think my sister was as thrilled with our coordinating plaid jackets as I was. But she probably also thought my glasses were cool (or she would have told me they weren't).

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  10. Mitchell it is a fantastic post

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    1. Gosia:
      Thanks so much. He's a sweetheart of a brother.

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  11. Duty, or responsibility, and love aren't mutually exclusive, and you... as the good man you are... live up to both. You have a huge and loving heart, and Kid Brother? His heart is in his eyes. One of these days I shall have to tell you about Lauretta.

    Hadn't heard the song in far too long Mitchell, thank you.

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    1. Jacqueline:
      I look forward to learning about Lauretta. I was never big on that song, but have to admit it brought more tears to my eyes yesterday. I finally took it in.

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  12. I've long sensed the special relationship between you and your brother, especially in the way you refer to him and make a place for him in your life.

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    1. Stephen:
      And to think that's the kid who once said to me, "You know what you are?"... "You're a real dammit!"

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  13. Lovely. I guess it would be too unsettling for him to ever visit you.

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    1. Andrew:
      He talks about coming and I discourage. He would love to visit -- primarily to be with the cats -- but although he loves the idea of travel, he doesn't deal well with the disruption of his routine. He used to visit us in California every year. He was happy to be with us but always on edge. He eats dinner at 6. Showers at 6:30. Goes to bed by 9. We're constantly torn, but were even saying in California we weren't really doing him any favours with those visits.

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  14. Your post is beautiful.... you both are very special people.

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    1. Sharon:
      We have a distant cousin who describes her family as "special" (meaning extremely peculiar).

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  15. Lovely, indeed
    Let's hear it for the brothers.

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  16. Aww I loved this post, and all the photos. :)))

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    1. Knatolee:
      Thanks. Apparently, the Kid Brother did, too. Makes me feel even better.

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  17. Aww, I really appreciate the fact that you appreciate us as staff that support your wonderful brother. He is indeed amazing in so many ways. I thank you in return for staying involved and letting us know what he is able to do. Because that helped us to help him. And as you can see it all worked out for the best. I love my job because it's so rewarding. I will continue or should I say WE will continue to do all we can for the people that we support. Thanks again.... I love it !!! Tears of JOY!!!!!! Bklyn Apts ROCK!!!!

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    1. Anon at AHRC:
      I'm sorry I haven't thanked you sooner. You DO rock. Even the hard-to-please Kid Brother loves you! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For the rest of my life, I will be grateful to you!

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