Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hey bro, are you listening?

About a month ago, I blogged a mini-series of things I'm thankful for. In entry no. 2, I mentioned friends and family. Perhaps a bit too candidly, I noted my relationship with my brother is for the most part non-existent. Well, now I've moving from candid to transparent to perhaps TMI.

He moved to Atlanta about a decade ago and was pretty good about staying in touch with our folks, my sister, and me for the first year or two. Since then, however, contact has been less and less with all of us.

We all would send him birthday and Christmas greetings but received nothing in return. A few years ago, I bought him a DVD player from his Amazon wish list as his Christmas gift and had it direct shipped to his address - but got no acknowledgment from him he received it. The next year, I simply sent him an Amazon gift certificate link - again nothing. The next year I dropped back to just a Christmas photo card of my kids - again nothing. So I dropped him altogether about 3 years ago.

What I'm really pissed about is how he's dropped all contact with our parents. He was the baby of the three of us and lived with them until he was Costanza-age. My mother has bent over backwards trying to reach out to him and also gets nothing in return. No gift, card, e-mail, call, text, smoke-signal, hand gestures, NOTHING - for her birthday, anniversary, Christmas or just to say hello.

He's also demolished his relationship with three kids - my two and our sister's daughter. My daughter is young enough her memories of him are too fuzzy to miss him that much. Its more like she doesn't have him as an uncle vs. having lost him. My son has a few more memories - all positive - but if he's missed having his uncle around he certainly doesn't show it.

My niece on the other hand is deeply hurt. She was about 6 or so when he left, and the two of them were inseparable when he still lived nearby. She idolized him. I've known its bothered her that he's fallen away, but I didn't realize the intensity of it until tonight.

Now as a 16 year old, she wrote an original song about her memories of their good times and the hurt she feels for him having dropped out of her life. She first read the lyrics to us tonight, and none of us knew quite what to say when she was done except "well done". She wanted to figure out a way to record it and get it to him for Christmas. I agreed to video and share it via YouTube for her. She plans to e-mail the link as her Christmas present to him.

I'll tell ya one thing. This song sho' ain't no Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer so be prepared.

I couldn't be prouder of her for writing this. And props to my boy for jumping in on guitar. She told him the basic chords to strum and what she wanted on the chorus and bridge. He took it from there.


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