A Brother’s Love

“You have 10 days to live,” the doctor told John. What do you do with only 10 days? John picked up his phone and called his little brother, Stan. Outside, it was a perfect day. The kind of day that had attracted John to Hawaii more than 35 years ago.

John and Stan grew up in a small town in Indiana. But their paths led them to different places: John to Hawaii and Stan to California. Stan would sometimes visit John in the islands and it was on one of these visits that he met his wife, Kathleen. They had two sons together before she was taken by breast cancer. Stan knew firsthand the pain of losing a loved one.

The phone call came around dinner time. It was John. His kidneys were failing. The next morning Stan was on a plane to Hawaii. 9 days to be with his brother.

At the hospital, a social worker referred Stan to Hospice Hawaii. Stan made a call and soon, a dedicated team rallied around John and his family. Suzi streamlined his medications, Alison provided care and emotional support, and Junko gave gentle massages that helped John relax.

John began to feel better. His appetite returned, he slept more comfortably and the fog in his mind began to lift away. From his apartment on the 26th floor, John could see the blue waters of Waikiki. Back in his younger days, he and Stan would spend time at the beach. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to relive those brotherly memories?

Hospice Hawaii made this possible. John was provided with a special chair to keep him comfortable during outings, especially to the beach, rolling over soft sand. And carefully as they could, off they went. It was another perfect day as Stan eased John into Waikiki’s inviting waters. John felt the warm sunshine on his face, he felt the cool ocean water caress his skin, but he also felt something he hadn’t felt in awhile: hope. Hope that his last days didn’t have to be filled with pain, but could be filled with love, life and wonderful memories.

It’s been 68 days since John began his care with Hospice Hawaii. John’s friends have been flying to Hawaii to see him. Phone calls of support have been pouring in. Despite the toll on his body, John’s spirit is full. He talks about his devotion to his faith, his love for his family, his pursuit to fulfill his life’s purpose.

As the morning light fills John’s apartment with a soothing glow, the mountains outside look especially beautiful. Stan plans to be at his brother’s side as long as this journey lasts. He looks across the room at John in the way a younger brother looks up to an older brother and says with love, “John, it’s beautiful outside. What shall we do today?”