The Final Relationship

“We knew you got good grades, but we didn’t know you were smart.” So, that’s what they thought of me

How would I have known? Our relationship was formed biologically. My brothers and I were all but strangers.

We had grown from childhood to adulthood in the same house, but we never really knew each other. That was due to the shameful, secret relationship. All of us were enmeshed in it, but none of us mentioned it.

Our father was an alcoholic—a mean one. Each of us struggled alone to survive as best we could in that relationship. Actually, I should correct that.

Two of my brothers—Bill and Jim—probably talked about it. They cut lawns together. They played Little League together. They got part-time jobs together. They walked out of the house together and walked back in together. Of course, they would know each other and share in ways I did not.

Maybe I wasn’t included because they were born only ten months apart. Maybe because I was a girl. Maybe because I was the oldest.

But circumstances changed, and Bill and I were forced into a different relationship—a financial one. He held the power of attorney while I was the on-site advocate for our father in the nursing home. So, it was necessary for Bill and me, separated by 1500 miles, to talk about our father’s care.

One day, as we discussed what was best for him, I relayed how I had dealt with a problem. That’s when Bill blurted out, “We knew you got good grades, but we didn’t know you were smart.”

Then a new relationship surfaced. We had conversations about our children, our grandchildren, the past, people whose memory only Bill and I were alive to recall. What a discovery to find that we had a common interest in politics!

For the first time he sent me birthday cards. Through them our humor met and, now unmasked, recognized itself.

Finally, Bill and I had an open and honest relationship. Free to be ourselves together, we were no longer victims of shame. I’ll always hold in my heart the singing birthday card he sent me that symbolized our passage:

Do your boobs hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie ’em in a knot?
Can you tie ’em in a bow?
Can you throw ’em over your shoulder
like a Continental soldier?
Do your boobs hang low?

This past May, after a surprising, brief illness, Bill died.

And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters do not fail.
(Isaiah 53:11 ESV)


8 thoughts on “The Final Relationship

  1. Judy
    You did bring me to tears. You have a beautiful way with words. I was oh so happy reading about your connection with Bill when you wrote about his passing. I am very sorry for your loss. The verse that you picked was beautiful.
    Judy, I do miss you and I am grateful for your comments on my reading adventures and it’s a blessing to have you as my friend.
    Love and hugs to you and Jim.


  2. I think it is very kind and special that God chose to use the same relationship that separated you from your brother in your youth to bring the two of you together in adulthood. Thanks for sharing Isaiah 53:11; a reminder of where our strength comes from and wherein our hope lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Judy I posted a reply to your new post. But I do not see that it was posted. I just wanted to tell you, I appreciate your sharing your life. It is those kinds of conversations that bring me closer to people. It is so awesome to me to see how the Lord works things out in peoples lives. He brought you and your brother Together at the perfect time. I love what your friend Silva posted to your story. You and I have been friends for a long time Judy spending time with our children together. As I look back on my life and see the people that the Lord has put in my life, I stand amazed at how we all fit together. I’m thankful for you and I’m thankful that we will be together forever one day. I pray God will continue to bless you Judy. Love, Helen

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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