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Happy Birthday, My Brother!!!

Sandi & Brother Dickie

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DICKEY!!!

(But first, "Hey, Julie"), let me preface this post by saying the finish line is in sight, in terms of my family being able to return to our home. As I haven't had the ability to do so—since January 20!!!—to grab photos; materials; supplies; clothes; my life, I've been limited to what photos I have in my phone and/or on the 3 flash drives in my possession. So I will definitely be switching out some photos and putting in older ones from my brother's younger days, as is my wont, as soon as we're able to get back home and clean up the mess from the abatement ... and the photos won't all have me in them :)

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Such is Love

If there's one thing I know, I know my brother loves me, and I love him. But it wasn't always easy growing up with a brother 5 years older than me and a sister 4 years older than me. I attended school with my brother for 1 year, and my sister for 2 years, then it was just me, myself and I for my remaining school years (read: it was kinda lonely), but, when we we're kids, boy did we have a lot of fun. My fondest memory, of course, is all of us running to the phone, trying to get to it first, to call Momma:

'cause somebody did something to somebody else ...

... needless to say, I was always the last one there 'cause I was the shortest ... but I was the baby, so that went a long way!!!

You Talkin' To Me?

My brother is a junior: he and my father are both "Richards," but we call my brother Dickey. I didn't know until 2012 when Daddy passed away that he was also nicknamed Dickey as a child.

You really can learn something new erryday!!! 

My kids call my brother Uncle Richard, and sometimes Uncle Dickey. What strikes me as most odd, terribly interesting and decidedly unusual, in the past decade, was to find another young man named "Dickey." It happened to be on a very popular TV show, too, so that made it even more special, as I watched nearly every season of Law & Order SVU, way back when. I thought I had only missed a few seasons, but I just Googled it and they are still on, starting season 21!!! Wow, I have a lot to catch up on, don't I?

My daughters Grace and Alex, just loved Elliott, and so did I, so we were all mad and sad when he "left" the show. It was on this show that his only son was named "Dickey." I don't know if they mentioned where the name came from, and as much as I'd like to know, I digress, so let me get back to what's important:

My Big Brother 

Transitions

Usually transitions are great: you finish one thing, excel (or not), and then move on to the next, and, for the most part, such transitions are for the better. But not this time. At the age of 19, my brother went through a transition, and came out a different person on the other side. Momma had remarried when Dickey was 18 and she and I moved to the state of Washington, leaving my brother and sister in California. Most of our family is in the California Bay Area, so they were okay being on their own for the first time, as they had so much family to help them out. Since I was still a minor, I moved with Momma.

The rest is cloudy, hazy and blurry, not sure there's a distinction there, but it's a fog in my mind when I try to piece it together. I was young and no one said much to me about what happened, and to this day I don't know. I think I'll ask Dickey one day and see what he has to say.

When Momma and I left Oakland, California for Tacoma, Washington, my brother was my brother. Within 2 years, prior to our return to Oakland, my brother was a diagnosed schizophrenic.

WORD OF THE MONTH

schiz·o·phre·ni·a
/ˌskitsəˈfrēnēə,ˌskitsəˈfrenēə/
noun
PSYCHIATRY
  1. a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
    • (in general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.
      "Gibraltar's schizophrenia continues to be fed by colonial pride"
      or

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.

Wow, so what was I supposed to do with that?

No one was clear on what happened, not Momma, not me, not my sister or, apparently anyone. I only have a few people I can ask, but I'm scared to. I don't know if it would make them uncomfortable, or me, so I think I'll go right to my brother and ask him.

Surely, he'd know what happened, no?

Maybe ... maybe not. But I think I'll ask him.

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Rough Start to Smooth Pastures

With all that happening quite some time ago, he's moved in and out of assisted care, lived with Momma and Papa (our stepfather) for a spell, and is now in another facility. The last one was unhealthy in sooooo many ways, that he took trips to John George just to get some peace of mind. It was there that he lost half of his teeth, so I'm glad we were able to jump in and work with the hospital to get him placed in a safe and caring environment. He likes it there and everything seems to be going well. My fingers are crossed that they stay that way.

When we do see him, on special occasions or events, he's looking good, talks up a storm, and remembers vivid details of our life from 30 years ago, so I know he's in there, and he comes out quite often: he'll be rambling on about something for a good minute or two, and all I do is say we need to change the subject (sometimes he can get carried away) and he immediately pops up with a smile and a laugh and it's like we were kids again, and nothing had ever changed ...

We, my children and I, plan to take him out to dinner to celebrate this Sunday, when we can all be there, together.

I really love those kinds of celebrations

Freddy:  Ahem, when were you going to introduce us?
Sandi:  Oops, sorry, I'll get on that right away ... 

Everyone, Freddy wanted to get in on the photo op, so here he is with his brother Teddy ... jus' chillin':

 

Sandi, Dickey, Freddy & Bro

 

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Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get his post's newsletter emailed at 2:27, so I'm sad about that, but the thought was there, and I'll do better next year. Wish me luck with that.

To honor my beloved, and only, brother, here's a haiku poem written just for him:

Today and Always
You are the Greatest of Men
I Love You Dearly

With Much Love,

Your Sister, San

AWBM Blog Post #033 | 27 February 2020

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