The Last Brother

I was the first born. When I was about five years old, my first brother was born. When I was about ten years old, my second brother was born. We grew up in an upper-middle class family. Our father was ambitious and capable. Both parents had cars; our city home and country home were both first class. Mom was a devoted mother, wife, and homemaker. The waterfront cottage included motorboats for each member of the family, the size according to the maturity of the boy. There was nothing about which we could complain.

As the oldest brother, it fell to me to teach them things like riding a bicycle, starting an outboard motor, water skiing and many other things. Eventually, the inevitable separations came about. We married; we moved away, we had children and mortgages. We were living varied lives in different parts of the country.

Our middle brother was living in a central city in our country. After many years, his marriage ended and he moved back east. Some years later, he contracted leukemia and it took his life. Then there were two of us; the youngest and the oldest, ten years apart.

We love each other, my youngest brother and I. We live in the same country, but several thousand miles apart. He has his doting family around him. His original wife, his son and daughter and grandson and granddaughter see him almost daily. His retirement is satisfying and fulfilled.

I am more separate from my family, and connected with different family. I’m sure my brother wonders, as I do, which of us will be the last brother. We recently agreed that when one of us passes on, the other will not cross the country to witness the burial. We are both old enough to pass at any time, but our strong gene pool has us continuing to live full lives in our seventies and eighties.

I don’t think I’d like to be the last brother. I’m older and not in the midst of my children. My brother has his caring family around him all the time, so his support system would be large if I passed first. If he passed first, I’d pretty much have to handle it myself. I can do that, but I’d rather it not be required.

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