50 Years Doesn’t Change Too Much

Holding Al’s hand and listening to him breathe I find myself racing back to my past. I am standing at the end of the lane. The small dead-end lane leading to no where that the world recognizes; but to all who lived in the tiny street, this was home.

I pull myself in two pieces, a child and a woman. I see Al, my little brother with his big blue eyes and wide innocent smile. He is wearing his hat with the ball on top and the flap ear pieces that cover when the winds blow.

He wants to stop at the candy store. A tiny white  house that was converted into a public grocery store. Oh this was no ordinary business. This was a mom and pop store. Filled with those emergency food items for moms. Milk, eggs and bread. For dads there were car accessories, batteries and fishing lures.

For us kids it was a place better than heaven. Glass cases filled with shelves of candies. Fingerprints remained from other little fingers of kids pointing to this candy and that. The owner sharing freebies of new candies that came in. Wanting our honest opinions he would say. What did we really think of it?

Al tugs at my jacket and points towards the door with the big silver handle. I can’t resist. I take his hand and we walk in to the smells of friendship, hugs and laughter. Al puts his fingers on the glass placing his individual mark that he was here also to pick his favorite pieces.

I had a quarter in my pocket. I pulled it out and Al looked at the shining coin and we both grinned at each other as we knew we were leaving the store with pockets filled with special treats.

All the way down the lane Al licked his sucker and I made my pieces of chocolate melt in my mouth until I could no longer feel it. About half-way home I let go of my brother’s hand and I skipped and jumped all the way to the front door.

I would look back and see Al looking at me, frozen in spot, afraid he would be forced to walk the rest of the way home alone. I hurried and threw open the door and tossed my books on the couch and took off running for Al and grabbing his hand we walked home hand in hand, me his big sister and protector, he the scared little boy of the big world..

So many memories, so many times the two of us did this together. Now as I stand here looking down at my grown brother’s face I weep into my heart. I see the big blue-eyed child now laying here afraid once again.

Afraid to let go of my hand. Afraid he will be left behind. Afraid to walk ahead without me. My legs feel weak and my heart sobs as I see where life has not really changed that much through these past 50 years.

Al and I still need each other. He still seeks me out for comfort and I reach out to him today as if once again I am caring for that little boy all over again. God has decided that we can’t get too much closer as brother and sister.

He has discovered a new job for me and Al. He wants Al to help him with some project way above what  my own imagination can dream.

As I look into my brother’s face and I see the pain and sweat from this terrible disease my heart finally breaks in two slices. I look down at his puffy and swollen hands and remember how once I had grabbed hold and walked him into that little store. Now just touching his hand makes him flinch in pain.

His legs that once rode swiftly by me on his new bicycle now lay frozen in time. His feet that once walked side by side with me now lay twisted. No longer the shape of what we know of as feet.

I can no longer understand Al’s words but I can still read his eyes and he is letting me know he is afraid. I reach out to him and tell him I love him. I assure him I love him and I will not allow him to walk this journey alone, just as I didn’t let him walk that little lane from the candy store home alone.Al and me Christmas 2013

37 thoughts on “50 Years Doesn’t Change Too Much

  1. I have no words other than to say that my heart aches with yours, Terry .. God give both of you strength, grace, and peace.


    • Thanks Stephanie. i don’t know what reminded me of those early days of childhood, maybe holding Al’s hand once again and having him look at me with those same fearful eyes


  2. You’ve been chosen by the Lord for your task, and that means that God’s eye has been on you for eons Terry in order to entrust you with this holy work… do you realize how elect you are! I understand this is breaking your heart and body, but God will compensate you with every needful blessing ~for you both, this I testify to you with all my heart! I am praying constantly for you my friend and sister. I love you.


  3. You truly are a blessing not only to Al, but to us all! I honor you today and always my dear friend! No greater LOVE than that of family. Please let AL know we are still praying and LOVE him dearly! Terry, I am so happy and honored to call you my friend! May the LORD watch over you and Al, for when it is time to go home – he has a special place for his angels – YOU and AL.


    • I don’t know what to say. I read your comment twice and I just don’t know what to say except thank you for a beautiful comment. I will tell Al you and so many are praying for him when I say my prayer with him tonight. Hugs and more hugs Dayna


  4. Your words are so beautiful. I felt just like I was there entering that candy store right with you. You have spent so many years being a wonderful sister to Al. The mission in this all may be the blessings your sharing is bestowing upon so very many of us out here reading your blog.
    May God bless you and bring you peace. Keep writing, we all love you and appreciate your gift.


    • Thank you so much Linda. That candy store was always special and I never realized those memories would come back and play over again today. Al may be a man but those eyes of his still show his feelings just like they did when he was little. Thank you again. Hugs


  5. Thank you for sharing your words, your journey, your pain. It is a comfort to know that we are not alone in watching our loved ones go through the toils of MSA.

    Keep sharing & prayers and peace for you and your brother.


    • I don’t know how I would make it as far as I have without the friendship and support plus prayers of all of you. I tell Al every night when I say my prayer for him that hundreds and hundreds of people are praying for him and he always says the same thing……why,,,,,and I tell him because he is loved and one of God’s special people. He never says anything, but I hope this is on his mind as he drifts off to sleep. Thank you so much, thank you………..


  6. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching story! The way you compare the trip to the candy store with the struggles and fear he faces now is truly remarkable. You are an inspiration and a blessing, not just to Al, but to all of us who are privileged to witness your journey. Thank you for that honor.


  7. Amazing warm loving story thank you very much in sharing with us..brought smile to my face then tears. You two are the most loving brother and sister that I know (through here). Sending strength and courage to the both of you, May God Bless you Both..Leona.


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