LOUISE: The Blessing of Brothers
I grew up on a farm with four brothers. Perhaps it would be better to say, I survived growing up with four brothers. And I’m certain my mother was prejudiced to sons. (Just ask my sister. I know she will agree.) I say that because any time I ran to Mama to tell her one of the boys was teasing me, she invariably responded, “It’s just because they love you.” Well, I could do without that kind of love, thank you!
Ray, my oldest brother and comedian of the family, enjoyed taunting my boyfriends. Just as I was leaving on a date, Ray would sternly announce to my escort, “You better have that girl home on time!” He would collapse in laughter when the young man timidly responded, “Yes Sir!”
John, the adventurer, once strapped a pistol to his hip and went outside to practice his quick draw. Soon he came limping into the house and asked me to help dress a wound so Mama wouldn’t see it. He had shot himself in the leg!
Jim was the peacemaker. Eighteen months my senior and my best friend, I knew I could count on Jimmy for anything. He once carried me from the barn to the house when I stepped on a nail with bare feet. He always came to the rescue and defense of his little sister.
Then there was Monte, the baby of the family. Nearly six years younger than me, I didn’t mind him getting lots of attention. What I did mind was him pestering the daylights out of my girlfriends and me.
But in spite of my brothers’ antics, I missed them when they went away for summer jobs and to college. One memory, forever etched in my heart, is when my grown-up brothers, living in four different states, came home for the funeral of my three-month-old son, Travis, who died suddenly from a rare congenital heart defect. I remember Monte sitting beside that miniature casket, drinking in the beauty of my baby boy. Monte was single. He had no children and had never held my little son.
Several months earlier, my husband, Carl, had changed jobs, not realizing it would affect our health insurance, forcing us to carry an expensive, private policy for the pregnancy and birth. With less money for monthly bills, we moved from a nice two-story house in Tulsa to a cheaper rental in a less desirable neighborhood. My brothers were not happy with the location of our house or the sadness surrounding their sister, so they decided to do something about it.
Without telling us what was going on, they took Carl and me to a suburb of Tulsa and showed us two lovely houses and asked one question: “Which one do you like?” Ray, now a realtor, used his commission for a down payment and I guess the others helped on closing costs. My memory is foggy from that time, but it seemed like only days before they packed us up and moved us into a brand-new three-bedroom house in Jenks.
I will never forget what my brothers did for me. They couldn’t heal my heartache, but they could help with tangible needs, hoping to give their sister a smile during one of the most painful times in my life. That little house in Jenks not only provided a lovely home for our family, but we met wonderful friends and neighbors who helped us learn to live again.
Never underestimate the power of love and the healing it brings to a hurting heart.