Monday, December 12, 2011

Brotherly Love

My dad and his little brother Len have a really special relationship. Maybe its because they are the youngest boys in a family of 13 or maybe its because they have always lived geographically close to each other or maybe its just because they really like each other.

Dad is a couple of years older than Len but for my whole life it always seemed to me that Uncle Lenny was watching out for Dad. Len was the one Dad always called when there was something wrong with the car, he needed help working on the house or he needed a lift to the hospital (seriously, Dad's really really accident prone!). Len is the go to guy for advice, help or just a laugh. Dad and Uncle Lenny are buddies.

As they have aged and their kids have grown Dad and Uncle Lenny have found a new rhythm to their friendship. They meet less over home projects and emergencies and more to just hang out. They drive to the cabin together to spend the day puttering around, meet for coffee and lately, Uncle Lenny has been hanging out with Dad during his chemo treatments and other Cancer Care appointments. So when Dad's hair started to fall out last week naturally Uncle Lenny was one of the first people to find out.

Dad called to say he was going to shave his head and Uncle Lenny said, "Me too!" So that's what they did. These two guys who have lived their whole lives side by side, doing the same things, helping each other out, met in Uncle Lenny's kitchen on Saturday morning to shave their heads. Both because they had too.

You see, this isn't just Dad's journey through cancer. It's Mom's, my sister's, mine ... it's all of our journey because we love him, so this is Uncle Lenny's journey too. As deeply as he loves and respects Dad is how deeply he has felt a part of Dad's battle. Uncle Lenny has shed many tears, has tried to carry the burden of worry and provide a strong shoulder for my folks to lean on.

Wherever my Dad goes, physically or emotionally, Uncle Lenny wants to go to ... just to be there in case Dad needs anything.So when Dad decided to shave his head rather than watch his hair fall out clump at a time, Uncle Lenny naturally shaved his head too. He went willingly where Dad had to go.

Although the reason for the extreme haircuts was sad, on Saturday Uncle Lenny's kitchen was filled will laughter and teasing. Uncle Lenny took the chair first and after my cousin shaved a couple of strips off the side of his head Dad declared that he had changed his mind, he was just going to let it fall out gradually. You should have seen the look on Uncle Lenny's face!

By the end of the morning both Bilco brothers were bald ... both because they had too.

The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
~1 Samuel 18:1

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