In Loving Memory
Wayne is the oldest child in my family. Me being the youngest, I can emphasize the word “old”. In fact, Wayne is 19 years older than I. Tragically, Wayne died of Lukemia at the age of 24 when I was 5 years old. As you can imagine, I have relatively few strong memories of Wayne, all of them were during his illness. My brothers and sister have wonderful memories of Wayne before he got sick. My memories mostly consist of visits to the clinic, seizures, and times when he fell because his motor control was affected by his cancer. For my own record, I’d like to tell about some of the major memories I have of my brother.
It seemed like the whole family rallied around him to help him and constantly watch out for him. In fact he survived Lukemia for 13 years! I remember I was sitting next to him on the floor of the living room, playing video games I believe. He started to lean back (against the edge of the coffee table I believe), and I thought (for some reason) he might be falling back out of control and I didn’t want him to hurt his back on the edge of the table, so I put my body between his and the table edge. Evidently he was fine, he turned around and looked at me like I was a silly little brother. I was embarrassed.
Even during his illness, Wayne loved to make wooden toys: trucks and piggie banks is primarily what I remember. He was good at it. Most of the things he made were simple, but fun. I believe he made these toys for church and/or the clinic, and of course I got some occasionally as well. I believe it was an outward expression of how big his heart was.
One of my clearest and most upsetting memories was a time we were in the bathroom. Sometimes he would pick on me and I would say “Hey!”, and he would respond with “B!”, or “Hay is for horses!”. Both of these responses drove me up the wall. Well, he said one of those things so I pushed him. He was much bigger than me, I was still very young, so I didn’t think pushing him could possibly do anything to him. But in fact it caused him to lose his balance. He fell and hit his head on the toilet, sending him into a seizure. I screamed for mom and dad and they took care of things, but I cannot remember a time I’ve felt so bad about something.
The last real distinct memory I have is the day he died. He died in the middle of the night. If I remember correctly different members of the family were watching him during different shifts, except for me of course. I believe it was Shawn’s shift. Anyway, in the morning when I had heard the news I remember not feeling much loss. I could clearly see my parents were sad, but they also had a sense of relief. It had been a long hard road for Wayne, and this was very expected. I’m told he had a smile on his face and said something to the effect of “I’m going home” before he died. I could be wrong about that, the brain does funny things to childhood memories. Anyway, my parents asked me if I’d like to stay home from school that day, I was in kindergarden. I said yes, not because I was in emotional shock, but because I saw it as an opportunity to stay home and play. I remember playing with my toy cars as strange people came in and out of the house. I guess they were taking care of his body, I’m not sure now that I look back on it. But I am sure I am upset with myself that I used that day to play with cars rather than something more productive or meaningful. Oh well, that’s 5 for you… Perhaps part of me wanted to be with family.
I wish I could remember more about Wayne. I always enjoy hearing the family talk about him, funny stories, vacations, how he terrorized my other brothers and sister. I want to know more about my mystery brother. Unfortunately I only seem to hear the same small set of stories over and over, and although I hear the stories they still do not become my memories like they are for the rest of my family. This picture is the only picture of our entire family, that I am aware of. Isn’t that strange? Most families have plenty of pictures with everyone in them, but because of our age differences and the loss of Wayne, we only have 1, which you see here. I look forward to meeting him again in Heaven.