My brother died yesterday (June 24th) after a struggle with lung cancer and dementia at a veterans home in Boise, Idaho - he once again developed pneumonia, several days before his death, and he lacked the strength to overcome it. I feel so strange today, so sad that I've tried writing three verses about him and each time it seemed I was more the focus instead of Bingie - my brother. Each time I posted a verse to my blog I went back in and deleted it. Everything I write seems to fall far short of what I want to say. I wrote a haibun several months ago after his first bout with pneumonia and I'd like to reinsert it in my blog today. Forgive me if you've already been acquainted with it:
Bing is my older brother. Visiting him at the veterans home, he appears a shadow of the man he once was and seems far older. Doctors say he has dementia, and now they've found lung cancer. Having just survived pneumonia, his normally bright blue eyes are gray and distant, confused. He doesn't seem to blink. He watches other aging veterans move about the visitors area and doesn't speak unless asked a question, then replies with few words.
buffeted by a bitter wind
shuffle of old men
Bingie has always stuck up for me. Always. He has been a caring older brother and as children would allow me to tag along, pedaling me around on his rickety bike. Now I lament that there is nothing I can do for him. I was afraid he didn't recognize me until as I was about to leave. A single tear has appeared in the corner of his eye and is making its way down that pale, wrinkled face.
a leaf flutters
in an abandoned web
. . . these gray clouds