Hi, this is J, once again. I’m BHD’s twin brother. I occasionally write a guest post on my brother’s blog.
My wife and I have safely returned to our home in Italy, after an all-too-brief visit with my brother and our family last week for our birthday. We enjoyed our visit very much. Did I say it was too short?
We would have liked to have stayed longer, but my wife had to return to work and I have a field assignment coming up for my volunteer position, and I need to get ready for it. I’ll be out in the field for at least two months, hoping to reduce the suffering of war-torn people.
My brother gave me a pair of boots to wear for my field work — a pair of very sturdy and comfortable boots by Belleville. He has a pair and had me try them on when I visited. I liked them a lot, so he went to a local store and bought me a pair for my birthday. Very thoughtful, indeed. This field work requires a much different choice of clothing — no suits! My brother is happy about that. He always had a comment or two about my attire and dress shoes. I must say, I am much more comfortable now in cargo pants and boots. (Ha, you’d never think you would hear me say that, brother, would you!)
I could opine about my feelings for my brother and what he’s going through in assisting his partner to deal with and recover from that persistent, long-term infection caused by a spirochete transmitted by a tick, but I won’t. My previous post was edited — rightly so — as I revealed a bit too much personal detail.
I just worry. I worry a lot. While my brother is out there saving the world, one senior and one partner at a time, no one is really looking after him. Sure, our family reaches out through phone calls and email, but do not visit. His partner does not want anyone around while he is feeling so lousy. I saw that for myself. I love him, but out of respect for his wishes to be left alone, I did not stay in their home nor visit there very much.
My brother sustains himself through deep faith. I know people who say that they are faithful — to God or through their religion. The spiritual and religious aspects are difficult for my brother to resolve, as much hateful and hurtful crap comes from some organized religions just because my brother is gay and committed to a man.
Nonetheless, my brother has deep faith upon which he calls a reserve to sustain his work to help his partner at every tick of the clock, every minute of every hour of every day, day after day, night after night. It’s been rough — he has even said that caring for his partner has been harder than caring for our elderly aunt who passed away last year, but for whom he was the primary caregiver for many years during her Alzheimer’s-induced decline.
What does my brother do to care for himself? He realizes that he requires breaks from the intensity of care. When his partner is stable, which is most of the time, my brother will take a long, long walk with one or two senior pals. The exercise, fresh air, and conversation about anything other than his partner’s illness does him good. He still does repair work for a legion of seniors that he has adopted, or have adopted him (I’m not sure which is which, they are so intertwined.) Doing service for others allows my brother to put his skills to work and makes him feel better.
My brother also tries to get out and ride his Harley for pleasure. More than just commuting to work. Get out and ride. He has a great group of friends who are safe riders with whom he rides. From his smiles and discussion, I can tell that riding with this group of people brings much pleasure and diversion to my brother. He regrets that he cannot ride with them as often as he would like and as often as they schedule rides, but he does the best he can under the circumstances.
He says what he enjoys most about this group is that they “gay thing” is never an issue. Riders in this group are all straight, but accept and give friendship with my brother regardless of his sexual orientation. They accept and value his leadership, and give him good-natured ribbing about his lack of a sense of direction. It’s all good — and their relationship is a testament to the well-educated and well-rounded people he “hangs” with. I enjoyed a ride with that group last Saturday, and I can tell that they do wonders for my brother’s soul.
It has been a different visit this year for our birthday. Through tough times and good, he and I are in this together, as brothers, but best of all, as best friends.