And then there were two.

Bone marrow aspirate showing acute myeloid leu...
Bone marrow aspirate showing acute myeloid leukemia. Several blasts have Auer rods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It turns out my brother had acute myelogenous leukemia. My niece and I tried to reach him on the phone today to see if he got the results of the bone marrow biopsy. My niece was told there was no one on the floor by that name. They had moved him to ICU. He was intubated. The doctor said he had another 24 to 48 hours.

I drove home from work feeling numb. I forced myself to stop holding my breath. Just breathe. I arrived home. Sat in the car in the garage. Got out. Went inside. Picked up Sadie. I held her in my arms and stood looking out the window at the sparrows and bluejay in the feeder. Sadie purred in my arms. Five minutes passed. Then ten. Sadie purred. Each time I let out a sob, her paw seemed to squeeze my arm. She made no sign she wanted to be put down. I held her and cried while she purred, as we watched the birds together.

Eventually I set her down and sat in a chair. My neighbor came in. Hugged me.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this,” I said.

I felt numb. Couldn’t think. Needed to pack. Maybe if I didn’t go, if I stayed home, it wouldn’t happen.

“Let’s go see Sophie.”

We went upstairs into the kitty’s safe room and sat with her. We took turns petting her as she purred and drooled.

“I don’t have to go to Houston, do I? I can’t do this again. Maybe it won’t happen if I don’t go.”

Was this one of those horribly vivid Viibryd dreams? Surely I was going to wake up to find it wasn’t real. This couldn’t be happening again. This kind of thing doesn’t happen. Can’t happen. It would be too cruel. This stupid fucked up random universe could not be that cruel.

But it could.

My brother died today at age 52.

Eleven months after our oldest brother died.

Five months after our father died.

Three days shy of getting his 90-day sobriety chip.

Fifteen minutes before I arrived at the hospital.

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