Until I leave planet earth, I will never forget the dull sound of my dad’s voice as he said, “We missed the flight. Your brother passed away before we could get there.” No matter how I try, I can’t remember the rest of the conversation. My body went dead, and my ears rang. I felt like I was going to throw up. I couldn’t stay at work. I had to go home.
My dad never missed, nor was late to meetings or appointments. So how could he not be there for his son’s death? However, considering their combative relationship, I shouldn’t have been surprised. My gay brother, the ultimate long-haired hippie, with an extreme left political point of view, completely opposed my conservative father’s traditionalist way of thinking. They consistently butted heads while their arguments escalated. I had incessantly played peacemaker, protecting my younger sibling for nearly forty years.
Ten years after my brother’s death, I finally stood up to my father in a disagreement that reached nuclear proportions. Now with my brother gone, my parents placed me in my brother’s former tenuous position.
After my dad and I fought that night, my world changed, and my vision completely cleared. It was as if someone had wiped the steam from my fogged up shower door and I could see the mistakes I had made. All the years I had intervened between father and son had prevented them from reaching a resolution in their relationship.
I knew my little brother would have been cast from the family, and I didn’t want to lose him. At that moment, I realized I had nipped in the bud any chance of his having a healthy and happy life away from our controlling parents. I spent the night after my fight with my dad in hysterical tears.
Since my brother’s Master’s degree was in para-psychology, he always believed the spirit lived after it left the body. So, I needed him to hear my apologies. I talked to his spirit until the wee hours of the morning wanting him to know I was beyond sorry for my erroneous interference and interventions in his life. Where I had thought I was helping my brother, I was only creating more grief. I then understood the harm I had created.
Exhausted, the next day I went to the bank to withdraw money from the ATM. I discovered the machine had been upgraded overnight and in the change, the sample ATM card on the front of the window now read “James Edwards,” my brother’s name. I sat in shock and trembled as tears streamed down my face. My brother had heard my apology!
Thinking I was being irrational and the bank had simply used this name on all of their ATM’s, I went exploring. Their surveillance equipment probably recorded my subsequent visits to the branches in the surrounding area. Inexplicably, just the ATM’s nearest my home in Kirkland indicated my brother’s name. Plus I was in the process of moving, and only the two ATMs near my new home also displayed Jim’s name. Ironically, my hippy sibling, who had completely spurned the “capitalistic ideal of profit,” now had his name on the ATM window of one of the nation’s largest banks. I am sure he is in the heavens laughing his head off!
Months later my brother came to me in a dream to say that “he was happy,” and to say that he was doing what he loved to do. It was time for me to “let him go.” So I released him to the universe, and sent him my love as I knew I had been clinging. The following day Jim’s name disappeared from all the ATMs.