Dead Man Tossing

I vividly recall a day in the late 80’s when I visited my older Brother in the hospital. He’d had blood related issues, his spleen had been removed, and things were not looking good. In fact, with some restraint, he was pretty much told he was going to die. I remember being optimistic and positive at his bedside, yet feeling violently blind-sided by the realities of the situation later that night. It was devastating. We really had nothing in common at all, except for the shared experience of bloodline and roughly 17 years of shared housing… yet it was inconceivable to imagine that he’d be gone.

He beat the odds. He’s related it to having just mentally said “hell no, I won’t go“, but after watching the platelet counts drop for a day or two, they suddenly started to rise again, and he recovered fully. You can call it mind over matter, or a mind-body connection. You can call it the power of positive thought or you can postulate on it having been a misdiagnosis. Hell, if you’re one of those that actually believe that a man named Noah once built an ark large enough to hold, and was then actually able to gather, two of every animal that ever existed, from the north to south pole and in-between, so they could be spared from a global flood used to wipe humanity off the face of the earth for an eventual re-population… call it divine intervention. But whatever the case, he survived. No, more than that, he thrived.

As I mentioned, we have nothing in common when it comes to general interests, attitudes or behaviors (although he’s unwittingly revealed his geek side, a component passed down from our tech-head father, on more than one occasion). In many ways we’d probably have nothing to say to each other at a party or social gathering, and I’d likely cross the street to avoid him when walking alone at night. But he’s been there for me, supporting me in so many ways, when I’ve needed the help that tends to define the word family. I might not agree with his politics, principles or actions, but I’d stick by him the entire way down a road I’d otherwise never travel myself. As I’ve said to my wife, I’d not give him one of my kids, but I’d give him one of my kidneys.

He’s had his share of challenges, including cutbacks in the defense industry that put him out of work, and in serious jeopardy of losing everything. He’s been on the edge of financial ruin, but like a freight train, has plowed steadily ahead, always pushing on and staying aggressively focused on his goals. If you saw him, you’d not only understand the freight train reference but you’d quickly move out of his way, which circumstances eventually did, landing him solidly on his feet again, and then some.

A few years back, they found there were some further issues and they had to open him up again. Literally… and widely, open him up. By this point he’d started competing in the Highland Games, giving him an opportunity to not only put his energy into something physical and competitive, but to publicly wear a skirt as well. Fortunately, it only took one appearance for the judges to mandate that he wear something under the kilt. And thankfully it was not an event I’d attended. In any event, they fixed him up again, stapled him back into place, and sent him home to recuperate.

And he started back into the games again. Even after being gutted like a fish, the train’s not only stayed on the track, it’s gained momentum. This week he’d been confirmed as the “Weight over the Bar” Champion in California! I’m stunned. And motivated. I want to be more like him… well, that is, in this fashion. In determination and resolution. Hell, I stub a toe and end up in traction for 2 week… this guy gets cut open and stapled from chest to belly-button and he goes on to throw the heaviest weight over the highest bar in these competitions. If you know him, hell, even if you don’t and want to say congrats, drop him an note.

I’m starting to wonder what our milkman looked like. I wonder if he was stocky, burley and boisterously obnoxious. It’d explain a great deal.


Written by gsm

05/09/2007 at 7:08 am

3 Responses

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  1. Nice post, Geoff. I’m very happy your brother continues to do well.


    05/09/2007 at 11:55 am

  2. Geoff:
    Wow, Your a writer. It was amazing to read what you had to say about your brother. I can see you’ve had your differences but you Love him to bits!!! It’s been along time, a very long time.Damn near 40 years I would say. David and I have emailed each other through the last few years off and on. I am also proud to know him and see his accomplishments. So, what are you up to? Married with Kids, how many? I remarried 13 years ago after 17 years of marriage. I have 3 boys 29, 26 and 20. My 29 yr old just gave me my first grandson. I also have 4 step children 3 boys and a girl. All the kids are now out of the house and on their own. My youngest is a performer and is attending performing arts college and will be travling abroad in Germany and performing there for 3 months beginning in September. I would love to hear from you.
    Take Care

    Carrie Cooper (Murillo)

    05/16/2007 at 12:13 am

  3. Follow up: David has Ranked #1 in North America for the “Heavy Events” competition! #1!


    05/21/2007 at 10:39 am

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