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My Brother and I Invite You...

Updated: Feb 6

A few days ago my brother called me and cried. I don’t recall the last time I heard him in tears like that; he has always preferred quiet stoicism to emotional expression.

My brother had received confirmation that he has colon cancer. The extent was greater than expected, so he was trying to get his bearings at an intersection of life from which there is no way to turn around and go back.

What surprised me in our conversation, other than his vulnerability, was how much I experienced us in that moment as the children we had been growing up together in a violent, abusive environment. My brother and I were keepers of secrets. We knew how to tiptoe through darkness, how to hide our truths. In our bonds of secrecy, we were kids who communicated silently about scary and painful parts of our world.

My brother got through the obstacle course of his life with incredible grit and determination, and finally — finally — that course had smoothed out rather elegantly in recent years. He retired on the very day his pension from Walmart kicked in, then he and his wife of thirty-seven years moved to the country where his days became gently paced with woodworking, gardening, and attending AA meetings with a community he adores.

And now, soon, he’ll have to spend some of his days differently.

Over the phone, as my brother cried and then paused to gather himself, then cried some more, I felt our old silent communication kick in. Here we were again, facing scary and painful parts. He said out loud that he was scared shitless, but I could feel other truths silently flowing beneath that. “I hurt. The layers of my pain are many. It’s all too much to sort through inside me. I know you get it.”

As I was feeling all of this, my brother said something that jolted me out of our past silent bonds and into the bright light of Right Here Right Now. He took a moment to gather his words carefully, then asked, “Will you help me through this…spiritually?”

Yes, my precious brother. Yes I will.

And this is where my friends and community come in.

In an unprecedented move to accept support, my brother is allowing me to share his story publicly. All of his fear and pain deserve to be seen and loved by the world. And we’re not keeping secrets anymore. Fuck that.

I invite anyone and everyone to sweep precious Marvin Reed up into your heart and wish him comfort and strength and peace. Wish him joy in the new perspectives on life that will come his way now. Wish him the highest outcome for his soul’s evolution. Wish his fear and pain, as well as every other aspect of his being, love, love, and more love.

I invite anyone and everyone to celebrate my brother’s life with me and my family. We can use this opportunity to incite powerfully healing mojo. Let’s make the most of it.


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