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Aug 4, 2010 08:24PM
i recently wrote about my brother John. he was the most difficult child and is now a marvelous (if unusual adult).. i wish all who are in touch with these special people peace and hope. John is now 53. In my family of 9 kids, 3 of us have cancer (i am the eldest at 54).. i had a brother who was severly schizophrenic, and a sis sorely challenged by emotional issues.
Just sharing a bit about my marvelous brother John.... (it's a mini novel)
I have this marvelous handicapped brother. He has been living with my mom who just died. She gave him the house (or the money therein) to provide for his future. He really shouldn't live on his own.. he needs support. I'd like to have come live with us on our new property which has 2 acres of virgin farm. He would adore taming and shaping it, being a farmer at heart. We could build him his own apartment or little cottage. He is totally independent of emotional needs. He just doesn't form close relationships or depend on people. I really want him close to me. I don't want to dump his care on my husband tho if I don't last a long time but Kim says he'd be fine with that ..... I don't know.
-------- from my John Notes file... 2005
"I spent Saturday with my brother, John. He was born 16 months after I was. When my mom was just about to deliver, the nurses pushed his head back in and gave her a drug to slow the contractions. When he was finally born 10 days later, he arrived blue, with a cord around his neck. It was determined when he did not learn to talk, that he was brain damaged altho we consider him part of the autistic spectrum. He needed constant supervision as kid... he would walk off the porch, run away or do something socially unacceptable like take off his clothes, so I was his constant companion. He could count and build things. I'd set him up with sand, tinkertoys or blocks. He would build a building or count the pieces. He learned to talk around age 5, got into a special education class and revealed a marvelous aptitude for mathematics and memorization. He literally knew every baseball statistic he ever encountered and could do complex computations... multiplying 6 digit numbers by 4 digit numbers in his head. He somehow graduated from college and got a job with the post office. He looks normal and seems to speak normally but he has a Jerry Lewis aura about him that is very unusual.
My mother sold her 5500 sq. ft. home and is moving officially into her small bungalow on Monday along with John. Saturday I helped my brother pack the things in his room. He's an odd one - a very obsessive compulsive type. He saves things just like my mom.. all the prescription bottles he's gone thru, all the toothpaste lids he's owned.. every receipt for every thing he has ever bought - neatly categorized and shoeboxed, spreadsheets and computer printouts itemizing expenditures by category. I am trying to throw these things out without him knowing.
He is a very Christian man, taking to the heart the teachings of the gospel. He grows spinach, corn and tomatoes for soup kitchens, mows the lawns of the poor elderly for free, and volunteers at a soup kitchen. John has probably grossed something like $500,000.00 in his career at the post office, and perhaps has given $400,000.00 away. .. it's hard to tell. In his closet were 10 shoeboxes of thankyou letters. Many of the letters were from missions in central and South America, Africa and New Guinea.. Hundreds of the letters were handwritten.
"Dear John, Thank you for the 50 dollars. My wife had not been to the grocery store in 3 weeks. We've been hurting for a long time and are touched by your generosity."
"Dear John, Thank you for painting my house - Your friend Mrs. Sweeney". - (big sister Mary really wondering what it looked like").
Every year John does a thing called the Crop Walk. 3 months before the event, John walks the neighborhoods of Kansas City searching for sponsors to sponsor him per mile. 3 months after the events he walks to their houses and collects the money... every penny accounted for. The Walk I think, is probably 20 miles.. John walks it twice. The top donating person under John usually brings in about 100 dollars.. John somehow collects about 7000.00 a year. Every year they try to schedule a television interview with him. He says he'll be there but skips out to go collect the money.
He was really angry with me yesterday.. He owns about 500 board games.. They are all the same but he multiplies the components, so that Monopoly for instance, will have doubly populated neighborhoods and a bank of 5 million dollars. His games are a big problem because they really won't fit into the new house. He doesn't want to donate them because they are not finished. I kept breaking the rubber bands he has saved for 20 years to put around the boxes when he moves because they are so old. "Please Mary - be gentle with the rubber bands. They are my pride and joy."
I somehow got all his stuff over to the new house. He just called my up to ask me where the receipts for the spinach seeds were.. He has called me 5 times today about those silly seeds and their receipt."
--------------- last nite i had him come over for dinner. 2010 (July)
I told him that now that he was on his own he'd have to watch his manners.. and he did. People watch him eat and turn away because he is sooooo very slurpy. He said he was in trouble with the post office for going slow. He was going slow because he wasn't sleeping good because he missed mom. That made me sad. He seemed suddenly very clear thinking and open minded. I took a picture of him after dinner. This is probably one of the best pictures i have of him. It helps that he had a REAL haircut to match the suit we made him buy. He usually freezes/cheeses up for the camera, makes a funny face or just looks off into the near distance.
I am the oldest of 9, John is #2. All the younger siblings have a different perspective of John. They found him kind of embarrassing while they were growing up.. and rightly so. John is the type who would go up to a mother with young children and ask if she was breastfeeding.. We still have to keep an eye on him. I have to teach him about getting stains out of his clothes and not touching his shirt while eating.
John has gone to Mass at least once a day for a long long time.
peace and love, apple - ..... Mary Magdalen
4/10/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2+