Losing My Brother

My brother, Warren, died on December 2, 1998.  He was 47 years old and died of Hepatitis C.  He started getting sick in late August, 1998, but thought it was just the flu.  Soon after came the frequent hospitalizations so that toxins could be removed from his body.  He looked terribly sick, this relatively young man who was an incredible guitar player and quite handsome in his day.  As the illness progressed his disease took a toll on his entire body.  I spent Thanksgiving, 1998 with he and my parents, but he was in too much pain to enjoy himself.  All the while our family did not know what his diagnosis was, nor did we have any idea that he was going to die.  I was becoming extremely concerned about his physical condition and finally found the strength to ask my parents what was going on with him.  I begged our family doctor to look over his hospital records so that he could let us know what was wrong with Warren.  My brother had no insurance and was being treated in the local hospital clinic, and chose not to share the truth with us about how severely ill he was because he didn't think my mother could handle the truth.  The Wednesday after Thanksgiving my parents, my brother and our doctor had a fateful meeting.  The doctor told my parents the diagnosis, and told my brother that he needed a liver transplant but because he was so terribly sick he couldn't even be put on the donor list.  He warned my brother to watch for signs of internal bleeding, and if he saw any signs of it that he needed to go to the hospital immediately.  The doctor never even hinted at the "D" word.  My brother lived for one week after the meeting with my parents and the doctor.  The bleeding started and he begged my mother not to make him go to the hospital because he knew that he would never come home again.  He went into the hospital on December 1, 1998 and the medical staff tried to stop the bleeding.  My parents received a call at 3:30 a.m. on December 2nd indicating that my brother's heart had stopped, that it took the doctors 20 minutes to get it started again, and that he wasn't going to make it through the night.  I got the most terrible call of my entire life at 5:00 a.m. when my parents called to tell me to get to the hospital as fast as I could.  I was in a deep sleep one minute and engulfed in heartwrenching sobs the next.  My brother was kept alive on a ventilator the entire day.  We had to call  his children and my sister, all of whom lived in Florida at the time, to let them know that he was going to die.  Warren hung on until almost 10:00 p.m., when the family from Florida finally arrived at the hospital.  They got to say their final goodbyes to the father and brother they loved so much.  Shortly afterward we told the doctors to let him be at peace and they disconnected the ventilator.  My last glimpse of my brother was him lying in the hospital bed with his hands folded as if in prayer.  I will never get that picture out of my head, never ever.  Life has gone on but has never been the same without him.  He was the very first person I ever lost that I was so close to.  

jsp81355 jsp81355
1 Response Feb 9, 2009

that was a heart wrenching story, im glad you found the courage to share it.