Baby Memory Book: Two Brothers Separated at Death, United Again
My Grandma Crane lost her mother when she was six-years old. Her mother hadn’t written anything down about her relationship with her daughter. Grandma grew up wishing for some memories of her mother, but unfortunately they just weren’t there.
When Grandma started her own family, she was determined to keep a good record for her children. She kept a detailed baby memory book for each of her seven sons. She noted their milestones: first smile, first tooth, first steps, etc. She recorded their first sayings. My dad claims his first words were swearwords, but I’m sure his baby book would attest otherwise. Grandma kept a copy of the boys’ birth certificates as well as a foot and hand print. She even wrote down father’s blessings and little letters from mother for each of the boys. Grandma felt closer to her babies as she compiled these books, but she never imagined the long term effect they would one day have.
My Uncle Bobby, the youngest of the seven boys, was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was just six-years old. His oldest brother Curtis became his best friend as he fought through the excruciating sickness and the associated treatments. Curtis comforted, loved, and protected Bobby in every way he could.
During a family outing to the carnival, Curtis and some of the other brothers took Bobby to the carnival funhouse where inside a padded room the boys would hang from “monkey bars” on the ceiling. They would have “king of the hill” style wars where the last boy still hanging from the bars was the winner. Curtis and the other brothers decided to make sure Bobby was victorious. They swung from bar to bar knocking the other boys down while telling Bobby he was winning.
Amidst their fun, a young man was able to slip past their defense and was headed straight for Bobby. Curtis saw it happening. “Don’t you dare knock him down!” he shouted. The young man continued toward Bobby. “If you knock him down, I’ll punch your lights out!” called Curtis.
With a swift kick, the young man knocked Bobby to the ground. I’m sure the youth was oblivious to what he had done; what a surprise it must have been to turn and face Curtis and five other ornery brothers.
Within the next year, Curtis was called over seas. Bobby passed away shortly after Curtis’ departure. His passing was difficult for the entire family, but particularly hard for Curtis who was far from home. Curtis and Bobby had become so close, and how Curtis wished he could see him again.
Forty years have passed since Bobby’s death. Last year Grandma handed Bobby’s baby memory book to Curtis. After reliving his memories with Bobby, and sharing them with his family, he decided that he had never before received such a meaningful gift. The faded memories of Bobby were revived as he read them with his family. The relationship between the two brothers, separated by death, still lives on.
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