8827 miles or 14205.8 kilometers... the distance between Uganda and Utah. That's like an 18 hour 20 minute flight.
What's in Utah? My older brother. He has lived in either Utah, Colorado or Vermont for the past 25+ years. Why? He likes to.. loves to ski. He likes the outdoors. Biking. Hiking. Skiing. So since he was out of high school he has lived in the states that offer the most ski time.
Being so far away, we don't see much of Rich. Even when we were on the same continent, we saw each other, maybe every other year. Life just gets...busy. No excuse, I know, but it just happens. We chat on email from time to time, we called when we were both in the US. I do think it is sad. My siblings and I have never been all that close. Don't get me wrong... I know they would have my back and I would have theirs. I know that we would be there for each other if it was necessary. It is sad though, because we aren't like the other siblings I see. We never had those close and private conversations that I see others have. We have never made it a point to see each other yearly at Christmas or New Year's.
I have no idea why this is.. maybe our circumstances growing up. Maybe we thought we each had to fend for ourselves. Maybe we thought the other wouldn't understand our thoughts, our fears, our pain. So, somewhere along the line we grew distant..
But like I said... I know we will be there for each other.
You see... this post, is not just because I am contemplating life and regrets. Maybe it should be. Maybe it partially is.
On Friday morning my brother went out for a bike ride. His last ride before he was going to compete in a race the following day. It wasn't going to be a long ride, he was going to be coming right back. At some point on Friday my mom gets a call from the University of Utah Hospital.
Now, let me pause here for a minute. Being a mom, that has got to be the worst call you can get. Your child is hundreds of miles away and a hospital is calling. I really think they should give some training to the nurses or Doctor's that call. I understand they have to say whom is calling from where.. but can't they start the conversation with "So and so is fine, but this is..."?
Anyhow..the nurse calls my mom and says that it is a hospital in Utah calling, and already my mom is imagining the worst, "He is dead. Something has happened and he is dead." My mom said in her email to me, that right then and there she almost faints. Just hearing the words, "I'm calling from the University of Utah Hospital."
Evidently when my brother went out for his ride.. at some point he passed out. They think he had a seizure or something. Right before he went down, right after? We aren't sure. What we do know is that someone who was driving along, saw him unconscious on the side of the road next to his bike. They call an ambulance, and it is not until he is in the ambulance that he comes to. Tells them to call our mom.
He is bumped and bruised and somewhat confused as to how he was out riding his bike and then in an ambulance.
The hospital runs some tests, as they must, when someone is found unconscious. The news is a surprise. At least for me it is. They have found a tumor in his brain. They say they think it has been growing for a while. They think it is non-cancerous. They will have to schedule surgery.
8827 miles seems like such a far distance, but when I hear the news, I am ready to fly there to help. He is my brother.
Even as I sit here and write, that is as much news as I have. I don't know yet what the surgeon has said. I don't know the date of the surgery. I don't know if there will be radiation to try to shrink the tumor. I don't know....
I do know that God is here, for me, for him, for the rest of the family. I know that no matter what God has our back.
-that he wasn't injured more when he went down.
-that he was somewhere where someone found him.
-that someone found him and took the time to help.
-that they think it isn't cancer.
-that we have email, so I can know what is happening across the ocean.
I am thankful that I have God here beside me to comfort me. That even when the unimaginable happens that He already knows.
Please lift my brother and the rest of the family up in prayer in the next few months. Tumor is a scary word. When you add "brain"... that tends to be even more scary. Pray for the surgeons. For wisdom. Protection. Peace.
8827 miles... it doesn't matter how far you are, if it is family, miles don't matter.