Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Broken spleens and healed hearts
A year ago today my 14-year old brother was hit by a pickup truck. He is the artsy one, the original one, the funny one. The one who can crack you up just by being him. He started calling me "Uncle" a few years ago, no idea why. He has since changed the nicknames a few times - to Nun Priestess, last year, and the latest, Senator Amidala. He both talks and walks during slumber, insists I sing him three songs before he goes to sleep and likes to debate political issues he knows nothing about. Three things brings him mind-blowing, toe-tapping excitement: elevators, drive through car washes and beating the pants off opponents in everything from card games to Foosball. Braden is a whole lot of personality and during that first 24 hours after he was hit on the road - stopping to check the gas tank on his motorcycle - the shades of life seemed a little less brilliant. I got the news from my brother, Jarad, that night and it felt like I was kicked in the chest. "Hit by a truck... internal bleeding... intensive care."
I heard the details in fragments and the drive to Idaho was a blur. People don't cope with fear and grief the way you see it on Full House. We like to turn inward, go off on our own and lick our wounds, hide how scared we are and cry alone. It can be a lonely time but luckily he didn't leave us in that grayish-brown place for long. Instead, while the doctors were keeping him a few days to monitor his spleen, he took us hostage. He was "Braden" again by day three and we were playing card games for roughly 43 hours straight. When he would start to lose and would get caught cheating, he would say "but I got hit by a truck.." Well played boy, well played. (he rode that wave for another 6 months) That week most of us spent a night beside him in a recliner which, though those nights were uncomfortable and sleepless they also served as sweet release from Uno, Phase 10, Skipbo and some damn apple game that I have blocked from my memory. Now a year later things are back to normal. His spleen is in tact, he can play football, basketball, swing dance and take deserved poundings from his siblings...I actually owe him one from June 23, when he gave me some serious lip. Yes, I keep them logged. Anyway looking back he is lucky. We are lucky, blessed. He is yet to get on a bike again. His motorcycle is still broken. But I think that is fine by all of us. Love you bubba.