Talking about this IRL makes my palms sweat, but as the saying goes, first you list, than you subsist... No? Is that not the saying? 🙈😬😳
  1. The summer before his senior year of high school, my brother Nathan was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
    For the next two years, his reality was chemo and radiation and spinal taps and blood transfusions and let's not forget college applications...and then eventually college classes. When he was diagnosed, I was nervous, but also mostly pissed we were FINALLY both in high school and now we wouldn't be able to have breakfast at the same time (I was 14, alright?! Jeeeeeez).
  2. After two years, he went into remission
    It. Was. The. Greatest. We bought a pool table. He agreed to watch movies like Hardball with me and felt nauseous because of Keanu Reeves instead of nausea because of the chemo. We spent 3 hours (minimum) browsing DVDs at Best Buy. We stayed up until 2am dissecting his girl problems (that was my fun activity of choice, not his). We were best bud siblings back in action!
  3. Six months later, my brother started having trouble walking.
    If he sat down on the ground, he couldn't get himself back up. If he was walking down a ramp, he wouldn't be able to stop. It was not good.
  4. So Nathan and my mother went to Duke to find out what the hell was up.
    The cancer was back. With a vengeance. The doctor gave him two weeks to live. At 20, he was brave/strong enough to get on the phone with me and say the words "I'm dying." I'm still unclear how he did it.
  5. They flew back to Miami and instead of two weeks, he lived for six!
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    I was so lucky I got to spend extra time with him. Every day I would get home from school, lay next to him and talk. Who wouldn't want to talk to a brother like that?!
  6. And that's when the best conversation I ever had comes into play!
    I buried the lead, I know. Now the question remains...will it be worth the wait?!
  7. One day, Nathan and I were sharing secrets we'd take to the grave (which I'm not sharing here, because I made a pact, duh!), when I blurted out "I don't want you to die! I'm scared to live life without you!"
    Probably not the best thing to say to someone who's dying. But I was scared! And when I think about it, still kind of am. Life is 1000 times easier with an older brother to teach you the lyrics to "10 Crack Commandments" (don't worry - he got to that before he died) or tell you the guy you're dating is no good or that you should give Breaking Bad a chance (that seems like an older brother show, no?).
  8. To which my brother replied "I'm just going up there and opening up the door. I'm checking the place out to make sure it's ready for you. And when it's your time, I'll be there to show you the ropes. Until then, I'll be around."
    Even though he was only 20, his response deserves the "Big Brother Of The Century Award." And maybe that's what everyone's doing - just getting things ready and making sure your favorite show is DVR'd and that the food you like is there and your room is clean.
  9. And that, my friends, was the best conversation I've ever had.