My brother Marlon was such a wonderful influence for me. He was my mentor. He was my friend and my older brother. Who I watched suffer for many years from Cystic Fibrosis. We are almost Irish twins. Just a little more than a year apart. He had long red hair that was always messy. He permed it. It was the late 70’s lots of big curly hair going on back then.
At one point he started getting really sick and at the same time our family was really fucked up! So much arguing and hate and chaos. He ended up in the hospital. But this time it was a little different. He was having major anxiety and depression while being really sick with CF at the same time. Not good for your health! So, the doctors put him on valium. I went to see him at the hospital and he was so out of it. He could barely talk. I’d never seem this way. It scared me to see him like this. He was really depressed.
Well, his doctors recommended that we all talk to the staff psychiatrist to help Marlon. I was excited to see the psychiatrist. It was a family meeting at the hospital. We all sat at this big table with the Doctor at the head of the table and I thought we would get some real feelings out in the open and actually help Marlon and the family. Of couse secretly I just wanted to bitch about my Mom and Dad to an outside authority figure to legitimize my anger. All my hopes were quickly dashed when my Dad cleared his throat and did that really uncomfortable body movement thing that he does and announced that ” The Lord will take care of our family and our problems. Thank you very much!” I guess I should not have been surprised! Shit! oh well! Next time! No next time. That was it. We were done. Family meeting over!
Marlon’s health did improve and he decided to move out of the house and be around people who loved him. Who were positive and were emotionally healthy. He later shared with me that he wanted to kill himself and was going to drive into a concrete embankment on the freeway. Just get it over with nice and quick. He told me he had thought a lot about doing this. I not sure why he didn’t do this. But, he also shared with me at this time that when he was in the hospital and suffering from this deep depression. He felt he didn’t have much to live for. Most of his life he had suffered with this awful disease and was angry and tired and felt really sorry for himself. There was a young man that he shared the hospital room with. He told me this kid was a vegetable. Breathing, still alive and a vegetable. Sharing the room with this unfortunate kid made Marlon realize that he had something to live for. That he was doing better than this kid and had more to live for. At least he could walk and talk. He decided to get his shit together and enjoy life!
And he did! He decided to cherish every moment of life and to do whatever he wanted. To be brave and adventurous no matter his limitations.
He moved out of our crazy chaotic home and found friends to live with that were really loving and supportive. Some of his other friends took him camping in Canyonlands. He couldn’t hike but he would go to the top of a small crested butte and meditate with the sun shining on him and there he would fly in his mind and remove himself from the limitations of his frail body. He wanted to be a photographer and would set his camera up and take photos of the night sky in the desert with the lens open so you could see how the stars traveled though the night. Yes he taught me so much! He taught me that I could also change my life and get out of the mess we were in and really heal and create a better life for myself.
Thank you my brother! I love you so Much!
Well, there is more to the story. Marlon was about 19 when this happened. He lived for a couple more years. He did many things that he wanted to do and explore before he left us. He learned how to play Flamenco Guitar. He bought a Leica Camera and took lots of photos. Somehow he even got a hold of some pot brownies and got high! He couldn’t smoke it. So he ate it. He had fun. He went to parties and enjoyed being with friends. I went to one of those parties I know! I saw him laughing and being goofy!
I had a dream on my 21st birthday that let me know that he would be passing away soon. I cried my eyes out that morning. That was December 22. That spring in April Marlon started getting real sick again. This time the Doctors said he was worse than usual and could be his time to leave us. So we all gathered around him as much as we could. Someone brought a slide projector and the pictures of the desert night with the stars streaming across the sky. It was really quite beautiful. Another friend brought his guitar and played soulful music and sang. Such a wonderful sharing of love with the gifts from his friends.
We knew it was going to be his last night. As we took turns talking to him in that quiet hushed way that people do in these moments. I keep running to the restroom to cry because I didn’t want him to see how upset I was. It was my turn to talk to him alone. He asked me to brush his hair. I slowly and quietly did so. What an intimate act. Our family did not hug much or show closeness in any physical way. I didn’t know how to reach out and just hold his hand or even hug him and he knew that. That’s why he asked me to brush his hair. It helped break down that barrier that we all had. After I brushed his hair I sat by him on the bed and we held hands. He told me that he was going to fight for life every breath that he takes. I don’t remember what else was said. I just remember sitting there holding his hand and feeling the most incredible love that I have ever felt in my life. Just love, no expectation, no doing just being and loving. while we were holding hands and feeling this love the air started to sparkle this bright golden color. Then my hand and his hand turned golden. I watched it spread through my whole body and Marlon’s also. Slowly everything in the room transformed into this bright golden light and I mean everything. The walls, the bed, my hands, his hand. my body every particle in the room was alive with this golden sparkling light. This golden light was and is Love. the essence of love and I could see it, feel it. As I was looking around I knew that at this moment what I was seeing is what everything is made of! This cosmic golden dust is what we are made of and everything else on this earthly plane. The chairs, the bed, the people and all we cannot see. I could see all the particles in the air moving around alive with life. And feeling the essence of Love that all is made of.
I don’t know if he could see this as I did. We didn’t speak of it. we just sat and held hands! I know he felt the love. It was one of the most precious moments of my life to feel so much love. I hugged him and kissed him on the cheek and left the hospital. I knew when I walked away I would never see him again. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
Why is it that one on the most beautiful moments of my life is also and on the most painful? Who knows? What I did learn and experience is that love is. It simply is and if you can remove all the conditions and rules and expectations that we put on love we will feel it. Maybe even see it. And maybe, when we are close to birth or death. We are closer to the veil that separates us from other planes of existence. So we are more open to having an experience like this.
A good friend stayed with Marlon through the night. He died around 5 that morning. I heard that one of the last things he said was to watch after Lorina. I knew he was worried about me.
When I heard my Dad came home that morning I knew he was gone.
The dream I had about Marlon dying was: We were walking down the city street holding hands and suddenly walking up sides of building and then flying through the air together laughing and having fun. Flying in circles and upside down. Then a change of scene and we were them at Denny’s on State Street for some coffee and food. Marlon was not there. I ran around looking all over for him and panicking. I saw Mial standing at the door. Mial is my brother who died when he was 5 years old. I knew Mial had come to take Marlon away with him.
I was given that dream as a gift to prepare for his death. Also to know that he was no longer limited by his physical body and that he could indeed now fly and with the stars as they cross the sky at night. With no pain and he could breath freely without struggle.
He gave me the gift of knowing that we can change out lives no matter how much pain or limitation we believe we have. And the greatest gift he gave me is Love.
That love is the essence that the structure of life itself is made from.
That all is Love!
That all is made from Love.
That there is only Love!